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Rebuking Political Establishment, Americans Say Snowden Is a Whistleblower, Not a Traitor

New poll also indicates Americans increasingly view anti-terrorism policies as intruding on their civil liberties

by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Image: Steve Rhodes/cc/flickr

A majority of Americans believe that Edward Snowden is a whistleblower, not a traitor, according to results of a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday.

55% of respondents said Snowden was more of a whistleblower, compared to 34% who said he was more of a traitor. 

The view of him more as a whistleblower also crossed party and gender lines—this despite a chorus of bipartisan voices within Congress and the corporate media labeling the NSA leaker a traitor.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, pointed out that "the verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment."

The poll also revealed a notable trend in Americans' views on anti-terrorism policies affecting civil liberties.

A 2010 poll showed that 25% of Americans said that the government's anti-terrorism policies have gone too far in restricting civil liberties.  But that figure jumped to 45% in the current poll.

While a majority (51%) said they support the NSA's collection of all phone calls, 53% also stated that the program is too intrusive into their privacy.

"The massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti- terrorism efforts, and the public view that Edward Snowden is more whistleblower than traitor are the public reaction and apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents," added Brown.

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