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Edward Snowden, Patriotic Whistle-blower, or Traitor?

Updated on February 1, 2019
Robert J Sodaro profile image

Robert J. Sodaro is an American-born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.


A most polarizing figure.
A most polarizing figure. | Source


Snowden: Rated R“ (2 hours, 18 minutes)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden was born in North Carolina in ‘83, enlisted in the Army but after he broke his legs in an accident he was discharged. After he discharged he wound up as an IT tech with the CIA, then the NSA, then as private contractor back with the Agency. In 2013 he entered into the national consciousness when he leaked classified information of widespread, unwarranted wiretapping of random US citizens by the U.S. intelligence community.

Snowden: Official Motion Picture Edition

Snowden: The Only Safe Place Is on the Run
Snowden: The Only Safe Place Is on the Run
From Oscar®-winner Oliver Stone, Snowden is a riveting personal look at one of the most polarizing figures of the twenty-first century, the man responsible for what has been described as the most far-reaching security breach in US intelligence history. This official motion picture screenplay edition, written by Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone, includes a foreword by David Talbot and dozens of photos from the film.

Snowden's early years

During his time with the NSA, Snowden (played by Gordon-Levitt in this film), collected top-secret documents regarding NSA domestic surveillance practices that he found disturbing. After Snowden fled to Hong Kong, China he met with journalists from The Guardian as well as filmmaker Laura Poitras. Once the info was leaked, newspapers around the world began printing the documents that he had leaked, many of them detailing the monitoring of American citizens. The U.S. wound up charging Snowden with violating the Espionage Act.

SNOWDEN - Official Trailer

Hero or Villain?

The Oliver Stone directed film, Snowden, is a politically-charged, thriller that reveals the incredible personal story of Edward Snowden, and how he went from a conservative patriot to a polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and has gone on to became one of the most wanted men in the world. He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. Still, no matter what you believe, the telling of the tale of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for a most compelling film.

Interviewing with the CIA

Ed Snowden interviews with the CIA
Ed Snowden interviews with the CIA | Source

The leak

As his disillusionment with the intelligence community grew, he learned that a virtual mountain of data was being assembled to track all forms of digital communication; and not just from foreign governments and terrorist groups, but from ordinary Americans as well. So Snowden left his job at the NSA, and took proof of this classified information with him. From where he released the information in Taiwan, he traveled to Ecuador, via Russia, however while he was in Russia, The State Dept. pulled his passport, leaving him a man without a country, where he was granted asylum. Today, Snowden continues to speak about his work.

Snowden in an unguarded moment

It was Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley), who awakened his social activism.
It was Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley), who awakened his social activism. | Source

The Leak goes Public

A documentary by Poitras about his story entitled Citzenfour, won an Oscar in 2015. At the end of this film the real Edward Snowden is seen addressing a forum via a remote-controlled monitor to an audience of college students.

Information is the Key

Studying the data
Studying the data | Source

Entering the public Perception

The film is eminently compelling as it details his life and times (excellently played by Gordon-Levitt) as it walks the audience of how he started out into what he became. You can choose to call him a hero or a villain, but, before you do, you really do owe it to yourself to watch this film (and probably Poitras documentary, Citzenfour as well) before you decide. To be sure, he has been both demonized and praised by both sides of the press, and while we refuse to call a side on this issue, what he did report on is absolutely chilling — more so than any horror film we’ve watched this year.

An attempt at normalcy

Outside in Hawaii
Outside in Hawaii | Source

You Decide

Regardless of what people think of Snowden, we believe that what he revealed about widespread, unfiltered surveillance on U.S. citizens, is clearly a chilling prospect, and one that most assuredly should have come to light.

A man and his doppelganger

Edward Snowden & Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Edward Snowden & Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Source

© 2016 Robert J Sodaro


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