Brooks vs. Snowden- Ethical Ambiguity at It’s Finest


This New York Times article by David Brooks attempts to look at the Edward Snowden crisis from the other side of the fence. A handful of journalists and supporters have nearly enshrined Snowden as a hero to American citizens for his work in uncovering the secret surveillance of private citizens by the NSA and CIA, along with other federal agencies and bureaucracies, and distributing a large portion of their stash of information to said journalists. However, David Brooks views Snowden’s actions as selfish and rash. He believes that Snowden is an introvert that, in this case, did not ask for the opinions of those he was trying to liberate from “oppression” or have a support system that could critique his plans, actions, and goals. This disregard of Snowden to even ask for the desires of his “endangered flock” sheds light on his motives for leaking information. By committing these crimes, Snowden’s immaturity and dishonesty in this event is exposed by Brooks.
Brooks’ view is nearly the antithesis of Greenwald’s. He believes that government has a right to keep secrets in order to protect its citizens and that Snowden took an oath to maintain secrecy about his work. This view solidifies Snowden’s lack of respect for his employers and the citizens of America by revealing top secret information. Contrary to Greenwald’s position, Brooks is completely reluctant to accept Snowden as a hero to the populous.

4 thoughts on “Brooks vs. Snowden- Ethical Ambiguity at It’s Finest”

  1. After reading about both Greenwald’s and Brooks’ opinions about Snowden, I feel that my opinion lies more towards Brooks’. This article was quite compelling because it put everything into perspective. Snowden questioned the NSA’s integrity, but compromised his own in the act. I feel this makes him hypocritical. How did this article affect your opinion about the matter, if it did at all?

    1. Brooks’ view had somewhat of an effect on my thoughts about Snowden’s leak. I was skeptical at first, but this article only solidified my opinion. I consider Snowden’s signature on his contract with the NSA as a bond that should not have been broken. This takes precedence to his moral obligations only because there was protocol to follow that he intentionally disobeyed. Brooks merely provided a source to support my thoughts.

  2. Prior to reading the article, I was leaning more towards the pro-Snowden side of the field. However, having actually taken time to see the other side of things, I would have to say my position on whether Snowden is the hero or the villain in this scenario is largely neutral. However, I do agree with Nisha; Snowden has compromised both the integrity of the NSA as well as his own.
    One more thing I wanted to add was that I was slightly confused as to the placement of your argument in the post; I know that the post was supposed to be a summarization of the article you discovered, but I had some difficulty discerning your position on the subject. I don’t mean to be harsh about it, it was just a little bit well-hidden for my taste.

    1. That was actually by design. The prompt only asked for an argument pertaining to how the article refutes Greenwald’s view of Snowden. However, if you want my opinion, I lean towards Brooks’ viewpoint in that Snowden had a contract that he blatantly disregarded, but I can also see the morality in the actions that Snowden took to expose the NSA. I guess you could say on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is Greenwald and 10 is Brooks, I am a 7.

Leave a Reply to nishadhirenshah Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.