This was a legal process approved by the Bush administration that has continued under Obama to much success in preventing terrorist attacks. It was approved by the courts and congress and supported by both political parties. In other words all three equal branches of the government the Executive, Legislative and Judicial that were created as a system of checks and balances agreed that this was a legal,constitutional, and perhaps most importantly effective way of protecting its people.
I hope Snowden is brought to justice. But it occurs to me that the circumstances here with respect to divulging American secrets to a foreign nation (or the whole world in this case) are not dissimilar to what Jonathan Pollard did.
Those who feel that Pollard got hung out to dry by getting such a
severe punishment ought to feel the same way about Snowden - should he be convicted. Altruistic reasons have been attributed to both men. Pollard thought he was acting in the best interests of Israel, one of America's closest allies . Snowden thinks he is acting in the best interests of all Americans who have a right to know that the government is watching them.
In my view the basic circumstances are the same. Divulging secret information to outsiders – even friendly ones – compromises our ability to protect ourselves from all enemies – foreign and domestic. Both Pollard and Snowden did that. And both deserve to be treated equally.
For me that means that if Snowden gets a life sentence for what he did, then Pollards life sentence was justified.
That said, I still think Pollard has served long enough and ought to be released. And Snowden – if convicted (which he will be if captured) ought to be released after a similar amount of time in prison.