Relations between the United States and Russia are currently strained because of Russia's decision to grant political asylum to Edward Snowden. Snowden is a computer specialist who has done contract work for both the CIA and the NSA. Recently he has made public details about the NSA's domestic surveillence program on U.S. citizens.
Government officials on both sides of the aisle have labeled Snowden a criminal. He has been called a spy and a traitor. Yet, Snowden wasn't peddling his information to foreign governments, terrorist organizations, or enemies of the United States. Rather, he was peddling his information to news organizations. He wasn't sharing U.S. government secrets with the enemy, rather he was sharing them with the very American people that U.S. government ostensibly exists to protect. Sharing information with the American people about their goverment spying on them is espionage and treason?
President Obama wants Snowden extradited to the United States to face trial. Just today the President denied that Edward Snowden was a patriot and he called on Snowden to explain his actions in court. But think back a few decades ago. Suppose a Soviet dissident, who had revealed evidence of the communist regime in Moscow spying on Russian citizens and abusing their civil liberties, sought asylum in the United States. Would the U.S. have granted asylum? You betcha. But how is the morality of Edward Snowden's situation different just because it is now the U.S. government spying on its citizens?