Edward Snowden has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for the leaking of government documents about NSA spying programs. The nomination was made by a Swedish sociology professor to symbolize ‘that individuals can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms.’ Does Edward Snowden deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for his actions?
When I wrote a previous post I was uncomfortable with people labeling Edward Snowden a hero. I questioned his motivations, whether the data he collected was excessive and with whom he might be sharing US secrets as he toured the world in search of asylum. However, as additional details about the breadth of the NSA’s spying were released I began to soften my view.
This article by Daniel Ellsberg, a man charged with espionage in 1971 after leaking the Pentagon Papers, also helped me understand why Snowden’s flight may have been necessary. Ellsberg wrote:
I hope Snowden’s revelations will spark a movement to rescue our democracy, but he could not be part of that movement had he stayed here. There is zero chance that he would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado.
The deadline for the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in December is February 1, which means Snowden would not be eligible to win the award until December of 2014. By then Snowden’s story will have played out more fully, so whether or not Snowden wins the Nobel Peace Prize will hopefully be based on a full reflection of his actions and their repercussions rather than a premature emotional inspiration such as when Barack Obama was awarded his Nobel Peace Prize.
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