Americans are divided when it comes to charging Edward Snowden with a crime for leaking portions of the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance of phone records and Internet activity, but they clearly want to know more, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Nearly two-thirds said they want open, public congressional hearings on the previously secret programs.Slightly more (48 percent) oppose criminally charging Snowden than support (43 percent), suggesting that more see him as a whistleblower than a traitor, even while they support the program by a 58 percent margin. (The question asked: "It's been reported that the federal government's National Security Agency collects extensive records of phone calls, as well as Internet data related to specific investigations, to try to identify possible terrorist threats. Do you support or oppose this intelligence-gathering program?" Note that the "ordinary Americans" formulation Chris Bowers highlighted as key in how people respond to the question was left entirely out in this question: It's not clear from the question whose phone calls are being swept up.) But they want to know more about the program.
The entirely unambiguous response to this poll, however, is that the American people want to know more. They want transparency and they want congress to provide it. But if Tuesday's performance by the House Intelligence Committee is any guide, we're going to have a long wait before that happens.