Well, Dana Milbank has demolished that argument - not that it needed demolishing for me.
This is a common refrain among administration officials and some lawmakers: If only Snowden had made his concerns known through the proper internal channels, everything would have turned out well. The notion sounds reasonable, as do the memorandums Obama signed supposedly protecting whistleblowers. But it’s a load of nonsense. Ask Gina Gray.
Sadly, Gray’s case is emblematic of the way this administration has handled whistleblowers. Obama came into office pledging transparency and professing admiration for government workers who expose abuses. But his administration has pursued more cases under the 1917 Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined (including the prosecution of National Security Agency workers who tried to register their objections through “proper” channels). And the alleged intimidation of would-be whistleblowers goes beyond those involved in sensitive intelligence.It would have been stupid of Snowden to go through official channels. It would have been stupid of Snowden to be in the country when he exposed the stuff. It would have been stupid of Snowden to expose this through American journalists. There are just a handful of countries which could have stood up to the White House. Russia is one of those but probably not the top one in that list. I still think that Russia is not the best place & I don't think Snowden originally intended to go there. Circumstances made him end up in Russia. And I don't think he is safe in Russia - Putin is having his fun making the US and the Obama administration look stupid by using Snowden. Someday, either Putin will get bored with it or the White House will negotiate a nice deal with him when he needs something & Snowden wouldn't be safe anymore. I hope Snowden gets to go elsewhere before that happens.