Considering recent recipients Al Gore and Barack Obama, it seems Nobel Peace Prize winners are chosen largely on the basis of leftist popularity rather than any objective merit. Nominees, on the other hand, represent a wide swath of the population and include people from all walks of life.
Perhaps the most intriguing individual on the list for the second year in a row is National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The man millions consider a hero for leaking classified documents detailing the agency’s widespread campaign of spying on private citizens is currently hiding out in Russia to avoid felony charges he faces in the U.S.
Despite his wanted status, a pair of politicians in Norway nominated Snowden for the prize, making him one of 259 individuals in the running. While his actions are viewed as noble by supporters around the world, he obviously has plenty of detractors – especially White House officials.
Even those who nominated him admitted his revelations “damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term,” though they believe his actions have had an overall positive effect.
The twice-nominated Snowden is not the first to make it on the list based on actions some consider treasonous. In recent years, both former soldier Bradley Manning and the organization to which he revealed classified documents – Wikileaks – were among peace prize nominees.
There is no doubt Snowden’s decision to publicly release the secret information has brought significant scrutiny to the NSA. While that is seen as a positive development among his supporters, U.S. officials believe he should face harsh consequences for his crimes.
Caitlin Hayden of the White House National Security Council said the information he leaked “could impact our operations in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come.”
She, along with other top administration officials, believes he should face a trial, not a Nobel voting committee.
Snorre Valen, one of the politicians responsible for Snowden’s nomination, said he doesn’t think the nomination – or even a win – would have a negative impact on his nation’s relationship with America. Still, his inclusion on the list for the second consecutive year brings even more attention to an ongoing debate that appears unlikely to end any time soon.
–B. Christopher Agee
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