The response of self-identified progressives to the Edward Snowden revelations has been ambiguous from the beginning. On the one hand, there are the ACLU-type liberals, epitomized by Glenn Greenwald – the reporter most responsible (along with Laura Poitras) for shining a light on the National Security Agency’s all-pervasive surveillance – who are horrified by the Orwellian scope of it all. On the other hand, there are outright apologists for the NSA, like the historian Sean Wilentz and the Obamaite cyber-guru Tom Watson, who have teamed up with the neocons to smear both Snowden and Greenwald as "traitors": their position is an ideological one, based on their view of government – the federal government – as a beneficent entity that exists only to make life better for all.
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