Edward Snowden was a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA) who publicly released a huge number of highly classified documents. From these files, the world learned for the first time that the NSA had been collecting vast amounts of information about the email, mail, and telephone usage of millions of people, many of them American citizens. In releasing this data, Snowden had embarrassed U.S. officials and possibly damaged spy operations. However, the NSA’s own auditor found that the NSA had exceeded its authority. Two federal judges ruled that the NSA had violated the Constitution. Because Snowden broke the law, he was not protected by whistleblower statutes. He sought asylum overseas because, if he returned to the United States, he faced life in prison. Does he deserve life in prison? Should he be offered amnesty? A reduced sentence? How important is it to encourage whistleblowing?

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