Who is Edward Snowden?

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Dear Emma Gonzalez,

My name is Peyton Thompson and I am an eighteen-year-old first year student at Daytona State College. I am currently in the honors program known as ‘QUANTA’ which is “a learning community designed to offer an alternative to regular college classes for highly motivated students who value academic achievement and want the competitive advantage that an Honors degree gives.” In this course we have been given the assignment to choose a historical figure and answer the question of “What does this figure tell us about myth and the hero’s journey?”. For the second part of our project, we must choose from a wide variety of assignments and complete the given task. My task was to write a letter to you about my historical figure. The figure I chose was Edward Snowden, a controversial American figure.

Edward Snowden was a former infrastructure analyst for the NSA who fled the US after leaking thousands of intelligence documents full of extensive phone and internet surveillance done in secret by the US government to the media. By leaking these documents, Snowden released the outrageous extent of global mass surveillance stored by the NSA such as personal communication, including private emails, phone locations, web histories and much more. Snowden exposed the government for spying on innocent people and violating our privacy rights.

Not only was the government spying on us, but they were storing all of the private, personal information they collected through these surveillance taps for long periods of time. In June of 2013, U.S prosecutors charged Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified communication information to an unauthorized person. Due to the charges Snowden was facing, he decided to flee the country and escape to China.

For the single month Snowden was in China, the US was heavily pressuring Chinese officials to detain him. With local Chinese authorities refusing to follow the orders of the US, they allowed Snowden to escape to Russia where he could possibly seek asylum. Republican Congressmen, Peter King referred to this action by China as “… a direct slap at the U.S.,” Once in Russia, Snowden received asylum in the country until the year 2020 after being detained in the Moscow airport for over a month due to his U.S. passport being cancelled. Edward now lives a quiet life in Moscow, awaiting his asylum to end in barely over one year.

The government wants the people to believe that Snowden was a traitor, spy, and whistleblower. While it is easy to illustrate this negative picture of him, these accusations are not true. Snowden was brave enough to speak out against not only his employer, but one of the most powerful organizations in the world. Facing death and poverty, Snowden exposed the NSA and government to the people for their illegal wrongdoings.

In the words of Snowden himself, “If I am a traitor, who did I betray? I gave all my information to the American public… If [the US government] sees that as treason… who [do] they think they’re working for[?] The public is supposed to be their boss, not their enemy.” Furthermore, Snowden claims to have had access to much more detrimental information that could actually put the country at a security risk that he did not release. This proves that Snowden was not releasing this information to be malicious, but to defend our democratic republic and all that it stands for.

Just as you spoke out against gun violence and exposed politicians for being funded by and ran by the NRA which enacted change, Snowden exposed the NSA which in turn changed laws and policies for internet privacy. The two of you are true American heroes. While some may believe patriotism is blindly supporting your country with every decision they make, I believe patriotism is calling your country out for their wrongs. By speaking out against the large organizations, both you and Snowden woke the American people up to the country they are living in.

You both sparked debate around the world about crucial topics for society. Like Martin Luther King said, “…I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example of the world.” This is what you two did, spoke out not to destroy our country, but to make it a better place for all.

It is important to stand up for what you believe in and do what you think is right. The American people needed both of you two powerful figures to wipe the gunk out of our eyes and encourage us to have intellectual conversations about these important topics. You both sparked a fire in society to take back our country and not allow the government to run us blindly.

Thank you for being so strong and speaking up for what you believe in. When that horrific event happened on Valentine’s Day at your school in Parkland, Florida it woke me up to the danger our society faces. You proved to me and many other Americans that by standing up for what you believe in, you can enact change. If you just stay silent, nothing will ever change. Both you and Snowden prove to us that we cannot rely on the government to keep us safe, we must speak out ourselves and be the change we want to see.


Peyton Thompson

Cite this paper

Who is Edward Snowden?. (2022, Jan 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/who-is-edward-snowden/

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