Let's focus on Snowden, as the court already has dealt with Manning.
All seven readers of this blog know of my great distaste for the Obama misadministration. In my view, Obama is the worst President in my sixty years on earth, and very possibly in American history--certainly, at least, since the Presidency and the Federal government mattered to everyday Americans. If, furthermore, you ask me who has caused more damage to America, Snowden or Obama, I answer, without hesitation, "Obama." I also concede willingly that our illustrious Secretary of State, John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry, is not exactly well-qualified to criticize others for treasonous acts--he has quite a history, himself, and, frankly, should not be SecState.
In the interest of full disclosure, I also have a personal gripe with this misadministration. The thin-skinned dopey thugs who run it terminated my career because I could not go along with their bovine manure on things such as immigration--they wanted me to give a speech at the OAS criticizing Arizona, I refused--the crisis in Honduras, Fast and Furious, and their personnel policy which was heavily race- and gender-based, and which put totally unqualified hacks into key positions. I wrote a couple of "dissent" messages, and had my run-ins with the Obamabots. I found the Obamista foreign policy to be a disaster. I had access to highly classified materials, as I did throughout my career, but it NEVER occurred to me to leak this information to journalists, much less go run off to some foreign power with it. My oath to protect that information was my oath to protect that information. I knew of officers, including friends, who blew the whistle, but they did it within the system. They suffered for it, but they could look in the mirror and not see a weasel staring back. When I couldn't stand being around the Obamabots anymore, I left--and still won't give up the info I have.
Snowden apparently had a long-term plan to collect massive amounts of classified data to use against the NSA and the USA; he, it seems, worked this plan in league with a reporter for The World's Stupidest Newspaper, The Guardian, and with the highly anti-American crowd at WikiLeaks. He then fled to China and onward to Russia. This man is not a whistleblower or some naive well-intentioned champion for civil and human rights. This man is something else, so it would appear, as it seems he has given up perfectly legitimate collection efforts by the US and the UK against Chinese and Russian targets. The one area of doubt I will concede is that we have gotten most of our information from The World's Stupidest Newspaper, and who knows if there is more smoke than fire. That said, however, there must be considerable fire or the Russians likely would not have let him stay. Despite nearly three-quarters of a century of Communism, the Russians remain sharp and talented horse traders.
If Snowden had a complaint about the way the NSA and the other intel organizations were behaving, he had legal ways to make that clear. Even under the Obama-Holder regime, we still have lawyers with security clearances who specialize in these sorts of cases. There are powerful Senators and Representatives to whom he could have appealed. He would have had a rough time, no doubt, but what does he think the rest of his life looks like now?
I have written about the damage done by Obama to America, some of it likely permanent. I should add that one of the greatest bits of damage has been to foster the cynicism that Americans have about their government; simply put, Obama cannot be believed even if he happens to tell the truth about something. He has such a record of deception and fabrication that he has done enormous harm to the relationship between the people and their government. I see people thinking that AQ is not real, that Islamic terrorism is a sham, etc. That is a horrid development, and can be chalked up to this misadministration and its lies. It is a development that will cost lives.
UPDATE: Judging from some of the comments and reactions elsewhere, there seems to be lots of misunderstanding of what I was trying to state. I need to write more gooder.
The issue I was raising in this post was my disagreement with the hero worship by many of Snowden, a man who never should have had a security clearance. Snowden is not a crusader for the Constitution or for civil rights in the US. He ran to China and Russia with highly classified info about legitimate collection efforts overseas. He planned this carefully with the leftist Guardian and the leftist Wikileaks. In this regard, he, apparently, was no better than some spy or turncoat working for a foreign power against the US.
This is a separate issue from whether what the NSA is doing within the US is right or wrong, legal or illegal, constitutional or unconstitutional. This is a separate issue from whether what Obama is doing is good or bad--you know my position on that. This is about Snowden; he is a weasel.