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The errors of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald

The NSA disclosures are disturbing but they don’t portend a totalitarian state

By George Packer   June 2014

Edward Snowden is a child of the internet and at the same time an old American type—the solitary individual whose religion is conscience, and who follows his own regardless of where it takes him. The type goes back to the English Protestant dissenters who settled the New World in the 17th century. Its most eloquent exemplar was Henry David Thoreau, who wrote in “Civil Disobedience” (1849): “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have…

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