More See Snowden as "Patriot" Than Traitor

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 13 2013 10:08 AM

Traitor or Hero? Many Americans Can't Decide.

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Protesters hold placards in support of former US spy Edward Snowden outside the US consulate in Hong Kong on June 13, 2013

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Those on and around Capitol Hill may have made up their minds about whether Edward Snowden is a traitor or a hero, but for the rest of us things are a little more complicated. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll out late Wednesday shows that while more Americans see the NSA leaker as a hero than a traitor, the largest number aren't quite ready to make a call either way:

Some 23 percent of those surveyed said former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is a traitor while 31 percent said he is a patriot. Another 46 percent said they did not know. ... 35 percent of those surveyed said Snowden should not face charges while 25 percent said he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Another 40 percent said they did not know.
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The survey was taken on Tuesday and Wednesday and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points for each result. (Reuters doesn't list the exact questions used, so it's unclear exactly how many options respondents were given. Although based on the results, I'd guess three: hero, traitor, or don't know.)

Read more on Slate about the NSA’s secret snooping programs, and follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.