A new Rasmussen poll finds just 21 percent of Americans surveyed opining that NSA leaker Edward Snowden should be given amnesty in return for plugging his leaks of classified information.
Thirty-nine percent, though, are undecided, while 41 percent oppose amnesty for the former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor.
Sixty-two percent agreed that it’s at least somewhat likely that Snowden’s leaks have been detrimental to national security, though 59 percent now want to know more about the secret surveillance programs.
Twenty-nine percent thought of Snowden as a traitor while 12 percent branded him a hero, with the rest floating in the gray area between the two labels.
Snowden is currently sheltering in Russia under a year’s asylum, and is hunting for a permanent asylum home.
In an open letter to the Brazilian people published in a newspaper there, Snowden offered to help the Brazilian government investigate how the U.S. has spied on President Dilma Rousseff.
“I’ve expressed my willingness to assist where it’s appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the US government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so,” Snowden wrote.
“Until a country grants me permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak out.”
It’s not exactly a cold call on Snowden’s part, as Brazilian senators have reached out to him for assistance in their hearings about how to re-route fiber-optic cables to lessen the chance of American agencies getting a peek into the country’s affairs. Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who broke the Snowden leaks, lives in Brazil.
“When a person in Florianópolis visits a website, the NSA keeps track of when it happened and what they did on that site. If a mother in Porto Alegre calls her son to wish him luck with his exam, the NSA can save the data for five years or longer. The agency can keep records of who has an affair or visits porn sites, in case it needs to damage the reputations of its targets,” Snowden wrote.
“Six months ago, I revealed that the NSA wanted to listen to the whole world. Now the whole world is listening, and also talking back. And the NSA does not like what it is hearing.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked at yesterday’s briefing whether President Obama would consider amnesty for Snowden should he turn over his remaining cache of classified documents.
“First of all, our position has not changed on that matter at all. And what I can tell you is that Mr. Snowden has been accused of leaking classified information, and he faces felony charges here in the United States,” Carney said. “He should be returned to the United States as soon as possible where he will be accorded full due process and protections in our system. So that’s our position and it has not changed.”