Edward Snowden, Is He a Hero or a Traitor?
Several Months ago Edward Joseph Snowden caused chaos throughout the world. He was a contract worker at the National Security Agency (NSA). NSA is a Pentagon affiliated organization that makes and manages code important in covert actions for the USA. As it is quite important in the USA, it contains a lot of information including personal information. However, nobody knew that their personal information was also being collected by NSA. Snowden told the Guardian, “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sorts of things. I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” Then, Snowden began to disclose the truth about how NSA is collecting personal information illegally. He revealed that NSA monitors broadly phone calls and Internet data from large companies such as Google and Facebook. After his disclosure, not only the USA but also various other countries were left in a state of confusion. The USA then revoked his passport, which means he lost his USA nationality and now has virtually nowhere to go. He requested exile in 19 countries including Russia and China. Gleen Greenwald, the Guardian’s lead reporter on the Snowden case, said that there are more revelations yet to come. According to AP news, Obama said, “The United States takes proper legal action against Snowden and tries to cooperate with other countries to do that. And I ordered the Justice Department to intervene more actively in repatriation of Snowden.” The disclosures by Snowden have raised Americans’ concerns about domestic spying and strained relations with some USA allies, which caused USA officials to state publically that “The USA is overhauling1 procedures to tighten access to top-secret intelligence in a bid to prevent another mega-leak like the one carried out by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.”
The Only Place for Snowden
After Edward Snowden had his USA passport revoked, he was held in the transit area at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. On June 16th, he requested temporary asylum in Russia and finally on August 1st, Russia granted him a year’s asylum. The USA continually requested Russia to send him back to face criminal charges, but Russia chose to grant him asylum. After Russia’s decision, the White House indicated that President Barack Obama may boycott a September summit with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Snowden’s attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, said “He is the most wanted man on planet Earth. He needs to work. He is not a rich man, and the money that he had, he has of course, spent on food. Snowden is an expert, a very high-level expert, and I am receiving letters from companies and citizens who would eagerly give him a job. He will not have any problems.” In fact, Snowden already received a request to work for one of Russia’s top social networking sites. Moreover, Russians regard Snowden positively, in a poll released by independent research group Levada this week 43 percent of Russians wanted to grant him asylum. It’s not sure how this decision will change the relationship between Russia and the USA.
Looking at a Bush Fire from across the River
According to Snowden’s disclosure, the USA has even tapped its Asian ally countries such as South Korea and Japan. The Japanese and Chinese governments have asked for instant explanation, voicing strong objection. However, the South Korean government has not yet announced an official position on the issue. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) only stated, “We are verifying fact relations. We have nothing further to say on this.” The main reason South Korea is taking a half-hearted2 response is due to the Korea-USA alliance. However, from other countries firm response, isn’t Korea being too dismissive? Sanuri Party Rep. Won Yoo-Chul said that the, “South Korea Government did asked for fact relations to the USA Government, but it is also true that we are excessively passive compared to other countries.” Tapping is definitely an unlawful act, and the action cannot be overlooked just because the USA is an ally. Edward Snowden’s disclosure has just started. If some of the information he reveals includes information on South Korea’s delicate diplomatic dealing with North Korea and the means of managing nuclear talks with North Korea and FTA negotiations with the USA, it could harm national security.
Reversal of State
Snowden started his disclosure in Hong Kong, China through the newspaper the Guardian. After telling his story, he tried to leave Hong Kong but in the process, there was a collision between China and the USA. The USA requested Snowden’s extradition but the Chinese government allowed Edward to depart from Hong Kong. Hong Kong has its own dependent law system but since it belongs to the territory of China, China’s central government has influence. The Chinese government announced that it respected Hong Kong authorities’ decision. Regarding this issue, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “China’s decision will have a negative impact considerably to USA and China alliance later on.” Due to Snowden, there is now a reversal of state between China and the USA. For a while, the USA pointed to China’s Cyber Unit and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as the main culprits of recent cyber-attacks, terror, and spying, but as the USA’s tapping issue shows, Snowden may have revealed a USA state secret; it granted power to China. USA Chairperson of information said, “Snowden headed to two prominent countries regarding cyber invasion, China and Russia. Then we should consider deeply about why he has chosen those two countries.”
1 Overhaul : [VERB] To be cleaned, checked thoroughly and repaired if necessary.
e.g.) The system was outdated so it was overhauled a year ago.
2 Half-hearted : [ADJ] Showing no enthusiasm and interest.
e.g.) He made a rather half-hearted attempt to clear up the rubbish.