Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as controversial CIA whistle-blower Edward Snowden in...

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as controversial CIA whistle-blower Edward Snowden in "Snowden," based on true events and directed by Oliver Stone. With Shailene Woodley, Nicolas Cage and more. In theaters Sept. 16. Credit: Open Road Films via YouTube

In one of my favorite fake commercials on “Saturday Night Live,” a couple argued over whether new Shimmer was a dessert topping or a floor wax. Obviously, it couldn’t be both, right?

A bipartisan congressional committee has unanimously concluded that Edward Snowden put “Americans at risk” [“Panel: Snowden’s leaks don’t make him whistleblower,” News, Sept. 16]. A committee member stated that Snowden betrayed his country. A Justice Department representative said, “Mr. Snowden is not a whistleblower. He is accused of leaking classified information.”

Apparently, they reason, he can’t be a whistleblower because he’s a traitor. It seems like they’re saying, we did nothing wrong because he did something worse. So is the government now damaging national security because, in response to a nonexistent whistleblower, it changed its surveillance policies?

What could the American people conclude? Maybe we should look to Chevy Chase and the “SNL” commercial for guidance: “Wait, you’re both right! New Shimmer is a dessert topping, and a floor wax!”

Christopher Paul, Bayport


When someone is entrusted with sensitive information, he or she should be held accountable. If Edward Snowden felt it was important enough to violate that trust, he should have taken legal steps to compel the government to disclose.

He violated the law. He committed a crime and should be held accountable. Many brave citizens have resorted to civil disobedience to fight what they felt was unjust. Snowden didn’t; instead he ran away. Snowden is a coward. He definitely isn’t a hero.

Michael Shapiro, Merrick


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