He went to China to reveal closely held America secrets, had his passport revoked and a warrant issued for his arrest, fled to Russia with the aid of an accused sex offender, and has been offered asylum by Venezuela, a country whose anti-Americanism is legendary.
"He's a traitor," House Speaker John Boehner told ABC's Good Morning America in mid-June. He articulated the views of many in official Washington when he added: "The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it's a giant violation of the law." Said Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein, also in mid-June: "I don't look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it's an act of treason."
And yet, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, "American voters" -- having had a bit of time to reflect on the question -- "say 55-34 percent that Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower, rather than a traitor."
"Almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group regards Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor," the pollsters reported. "The lone exception is black voters, with 43 percent calling him a traitor and 42 percent calling him a whistle-blower."