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To the Editor: Unjustified Comparison

— There is a strong temptation to suspect that today’s NSA leaker Edward Snowden and yesteryear’s Alexandria Gazette editor Edgar Snowden, who took his paper underground rather than cooperate with the U.S. military’s occupation, might be blood relations. If so, notwithstanding the Constitution’s idealistic prohibition of “corruption of blood,” disloyalty to the United States might be hereditary.

Nevertheless, there is wide disagreement as to whether NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a traitor, criminal, whistleblower, or patriot. But for Harry Covert [“Alexandria’s Welcome Mat for Mr. Snowden,” Alexandria Gazette Packet, June 27] to seemingly put him in the same category as James Hanssen, an FBI agent who spied for the Soviets, or Zacharias Moussawi, a 9/11 conspirator, is unjustifiable. Even if the information Snowden revealed might be of interest to America’s enemies, it is primarily of great public interest. That makes Snowden more like leaker Bradley Manning than like Hanssen or Moussawi.

The feds need be more mindful of the ineluctable expectations they create by holding our country out to its citizens and the world as a great bastion of liberty. What Snowden revealed led to so severe a reaction from cognitive dissonance because NSA spying on our own citizens seems to violate the expectations our government and our country’s principles seem to hold forth, even if not our laws. And the feds, with a seemingly imperial disdain, only reinforce this cognitive dissonance by forcing down the Bolivian president’s airplane in the mistaken belief Snowden is on board.

Dealing with Snowden calls for a light, rather than a heavy, touch: In whatever country grants him refuge, whether Cuba, Ecuador, or Iceland, we have the means to send surveillance drones to pay him unscheduled visits from time to time, follow him down the street, at the café, even ones small enough to fly around his bedroom while he’s asleep.

Dino Drudi

Alexandria