The American public’s views of National Security Agency leak source Edward Snowden have flipped in the past month, according to one poll — and now most support him being charged with a crime.
According to the ABC-Washington Post poll, 53% say that Snowden should be charged with a crime after exposing a trove of NSA secrets, compared with 36% who disagree. That’s a sharp turn from the point immediately after his revelations in June, when Americans opposed him being charged by a 48-43 margin.
Snowden is currently in Russia, where he is reportedly being allowed to leave the Moscow airport transit zone in which he has been stationed for the past month. His lawyer said he plans to stay in Russia and attempt to start a life there — meaning the public’s views of him probably won’t improve.
According to the ABC-WaPo poll, 57% of Americans believe that it is more important for the NSA to “investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy” — the Obama administration’s justification for the programs. Only 39% think it’s more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy, “even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.”
It’s worth noting that other polls, worded differently, have produced different results. A Quinnipiac poll released earlier this month showed that there had been a “massive swing” in views on government surveillance in the aftermath of Snowden’s leaks.
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