Economist senior editor Edward Lucas makes a strong argument against calling Edward Snowden a whistleblower in his new ebook, “The Snowden Operation.”
As Lucas points out, much of what Snowden disclosed does not even fall within the realm of questionable domestic surveillance practices. What’s more, his disclosures have done much damage to the American state and thrown America’s allies into the maelstrom of strategic uncertainty.
Snowden’s unchecked damage is exactly what makes him ineligible for “whistleblower” status in the eyes of Lucas and many others.
Lucas relies on the three stipulations for justifying whistleblowing laid down by Rahul Sagar, a professor at Princeton, in his book Secrets and Leaks:
— First, a whistleblower must have clear and convincing evidence of abuse.
— Second, releasing the information must not pose a disproportionate threat to public safety.
— Third, the information leaked must be as limited in scope and scale as possible.
“Snowden has failed all three of these criteria,” writes Lucas, who has himself exposed dubious state espionage campaigns. “He has not shown systematic abuse, only secrecy and mistakes. He has harmed and weakened his country and its allies. He has stolen far more information than was necessary to make the case he purports to want to make.”
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