Edward Snowden's Use Of Punishment

1308 Words 6 Pages
Edward Snowden, the former subcontractor of the National Security Agency is a dishonorable traitor who threatened the welfare of The United States’ national security system. Through the works of prominent philosophers including, Ronald Dworkin, Thomas Hobbes, and Henry David Thoreau it provides an understanding of the importance of establishing a proper punishment while enforcing the prior precedent. These works are able to be applied to Edward Snowden’s case due to his avoidance of accepting the punishment for leaking classified information to the media. The information he revealed exposed the American government of participating in invasive surveillance practices against their own citizens. Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act, however, …show more content…
The legal case against Snowden is “theft of government property, [unauthorized] communication of national [defense] information and [willful] communication of classified communications intelligence…” (“Edward Snowden: Leaks that Exposed US Spy Programme”). Snowden should be punished for his unlawful acts against the government like any other person who commits the same crime. However, Snowden left for another country that granted him asylum, which allowed him to escape punishment. Without a trial, Snowden is destroying the traditions of the American legal system and the legitimacy of punishment. Therefore, based upon the fundamental principle of the American legal system, The Doctrine of Precedent, Snowden must be tried and convicted under the Espionage Act. His punishment will follow the binding precedent that was set by the court decisions of prior criminals convicted under Espionage Act. To understand this issue we can look to Ronald Dworkin in Law’s Empire. In Law’s Empire, Dworkin uses the analogy of writing a novel to applying the doctrine of precedent in court cases. Dworkin calls this analogy the Chain Novel Theory where, “each novelist in the chain interprets the chapters he has been given in order to write a new chapter, which is then added to what the next novelist receives, and so on” …show more content…
In the United States’ Constitution, The Necessary and Proper Clause allowed Congress to pass the Patriot Act into law, which enabled President Bush to create many national security programs. These programs put limits on the citizens’ basic rights in order to serve as a preventative action against terrorist attacks. While working for The National Security Agency Snowden uncovered the PRISM program and warranted the media about what he believed was a violation of our constitutional rights. To understand this issue we can look to Hobbes in Leviathan. In Leviathan, Hobbes argued that “The passions that incline men to peace are fear of death, desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living, and a hope by their industry to obtain them” (Hobbes 111). Without a set of governing laws, there would be a continuous conflict that will end our society in an event called a war of all against all. The only way to prevent this war is for individuals to give up all of their rights. According to the House Intelligence Committee, “Snowden’s disclosures set back U.S. efforts not just against terrorism, but cybercrime, human trafficking, and weapon proliferation… (“No Amnesty for Edward Snowden: There’s More to Learn About the Damage Done”). Therefore, Snowden’s decision to report classified information to the media endangers the American people because it helps our enemies by

Related Documents