June 17th, 2013
12:09 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: Majority give Snowden thumbs down

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans don't approve of the actions of the man who leaked classified documents on U.S. surveillance programs, and they think he should be brought to justice, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning indicates that 52% of the public disapproves of Edward Snowden's actions, with 44% saying they approve of the leaks by the former government contractor who worked for the National Security Agency.

Documents Snowden provided to journalists revealed the existence of the secret NSA programs to collect records of domestic telephone calls in the United States and the internet activity of overseas residents. Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong, was fired from his position a week ago at the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm. The FBI is investigating the leaks. Snowden, 29, went public a week ago as the source of articles by the two newspapers, saying the NSA's efforts pose "an existential threat to democracy."

Fifty-four percent of those questioned in the poll, which was conducted Tuesday through Thursday, say the government should attempt to bring Snowden back to the U.S. and prosecute him for his leaks.

Snowden claims online Obama expanded "abusive" security programs

The survey indicates a slight generational divide over whether Snowden should face legal action.

"Younger Americans are less likely than older Americans to call for the U.S. government to prosecute Snowden," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "More than half of Americans over the age of 34 think Snowden should be extradited and prosecuted, but younger Americans are evenly divided. There are no major age differences on the question of whether Americans approve of Snowden's actions, so it seems that there is a generation gap on punishment, but not on the leaks themselves."

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International June 11-13, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Details on NSA-thwarted plots coming, lawmaker says


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • NSA
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Cam

    Amerika supports the Patriot act which is unpatriotic. I support Snowden.

    June 17, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. anonymous

    52% think he is a traitor to his country for revealing what was already in the public domain and have no problem with the government doing anything it wishes as long as we are quote safe unquote.

    44% think their government is betraying them and trampling on their right to privacy and illegal search and seizure. they think their government is more of a daily threat to them than the terrorists that the government is using as a pretense to invade their privacy.

    June 17, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    He needs to be arrested and tried. But I don't think that will happen... there's way too much "stuff" that would be said during the trial. He'll probably be the victim of an "unfortunate accident".
    -------------------–
    Aren't you supposed to say no civilian court? Take him to Guantanamo for a military trial, right?

    June 17, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. A Kickin` Donkey

    Drone Snowden out. [pun definitely intended].

    Look, 44% of the people supporting what he did is more a reflection of that 44% NOT PAYING ATTENTION when the "libruls" were sounding the alarm around the Patriot Act that George Bush lusted for and got.

    I`ll bet that some of that 44% is still willing to see Snowden prosecuted / eliminated. He broke the law. He just thinks he is a righteous lawbreaker. He is not.

    June 17, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    i thought this story was about a massive government intrusion on the privacy of american citizens under the obama adminstration??? this is 2013 right??? obama has been president for nearly 5 years right??? what does bush have to do with the happens of the obama adminstration. isn't obama calling the shots?
    ------------
    We first learned of the database in 2006 *because* the Bush administration was using it to pick and choose phone numbers for warrantless wiretaps. Furthermore, it was determined back in 2006 *by*the Bush administration that the creation of the database and the saving of the data was legal, and necessary "to keep us safe."

    June 17, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Boo

    I support Snowden. And I use Verizon.....COME AFTER ME, FEDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    be honest please. if he did this when bush was in office you'd be calling him a hero. you don't like the damage he has done to your faux president.
    ------
    Bush wiretapped us WITHOUT a warrant. Shouldn't you be outraged regardless of who the President is?
    -

    i thought this story was about a massive government intrusion on the privacy of american citizens under the obama adminstration??? this is 2013 right??? obama has been president for nearly 5 years right??? what does bush have to do with the happens of the obama adminstration. isn't obama calling the shots?
    --------------------------------------------
    No point in explaining logic to someone who doesn't want to hear it. So warrantless wiretaps isn't a government intrusion? This administration put safeguards in place to stop that kind of activity. But you just turn a blind eye to FACTS!!!

    June 17, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Boomer in Mo

    Apparently 100 percent of the journalists were not paying attention because Snowden's big secret was well known, and hated, years ago. Snowden may have been a Chinese spy all along and realized he was about to be caught and ran, and is now making up a bunch of stuff as a smoke screen.

    June 17, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Jean

    Now that I am hearing the extent of the information this guy gave up I vote to throw him in jail – I may have missed it if it was reported somewhere but I want to know if and how much he got paid for the information. Regardless of whether he was paid (that woudl just make it all the worse) he definitely went too far and I believe he has compromised national as well as international security of the US and some of our allies. It is also very odd that he ran to China – where is Assange, Ecuador – no extradition there and not big on hacking into our national security and military secrets . . . just saying.

    June 17, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    He needs to be arrested and tried. But I don't think that will happen... there's way too much "stuff" that would be said during the trial. He'll probably be the victim of an "unfortunate accident".
    -------–
    Aren't you supposed to say no civilian court? Take him to Guantanamo for a military trial, right?
    ------
    American civilian citizen = American civilian court. Arguing for arguement's sake again?

    June 17, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. earsoftheworld

    This program unquestionably violates the fourth amendment since the cell tower data retrieved would easily allow you to locate anyone you want. Therefore, he's a whistleblower and, in my mind, a hero.
    This is the administration that killed a 16-year-old American citizen with a drone, and you expect this guy to blithely turn himself in? He'd be silenced for sure. If he simply revealed his info and stayed under the radar, it'd be easy for the CIA to arrange an accident for him. By staying highly visible, he's ensuring that if something extralegal does happen to him, the world will know.

    June 17, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. ja

    america is full of a bunch of nanny panny people, claiming patriotism, in most case it is self serving, snowden is a traitor by all definitions, traitors were executed through out history

    June 17, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. just sayin

    Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)
    Sorry people but this is one issue that Transcends party lines. They both do it obviously
    -–

    problem being obama attacked and vilified it, said he was different and was going to review everything and get rid of it. he lied.

    June 17, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Steveo

    @A Kickin` Donkey

    Drone Snowden out. [pun definitely intended].

    Look, 44% of the people supporting what he did is more a reflection of that 44% NOT PAYING ATTENTION when the "libruls" were sounding the alarm around the Patriot Act that George Bush lusted for and got.

    I`ll bet that some of that 44% is still willing to see Snowden prosecuted / eliminated. He broke the law. He just thinks he is a righteous lawbreaker. He is not.
    ---------------–
    "Libruls" prerhaps were not sounding the alarm loud or long enough epecially since one of them LIBRULS continued the policy!

    June 17, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Ignitablepanda

    Interesting that CNN's numbers vary radically from other, more established polls. The guy's a narcissist. It's one thing to reveal phone-data collection, but to then release information about Americans spying on other countries is reckless.

    June 17, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    just sayin

    Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)
    Sorry people but this is one issue that Transcends party lines. They both do it obviously
    -–

    problem being obama attacked and vilified it, said he was different and was going to review everything and get rid of it. he lied.
    ---–
    Agreed on that one.

    June 17, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. One L

    I'm with the majority – Snowden could have gone through other channels, such as contacing someone in Congress, and seeking asylum in China of all places is highly suspicious

    June 17, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Martin Backman

    If he keeps embarrassing the spy agencies of powerful governments such as the US and UK his days and the days of the correspondent who is publishing Snowden stories are numbered. They are lots of cases of serious food poisonings happening in Hong Kong you know. Also there are lots of street gangs robbing foreigners, and the drivers!!!!' Those damn drivers......

    June 17, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    just sayin

    Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)
    Sorry people but this is one issue that Transcends party lines. They both do it obviously
    -–

    problem being obama attacked and vilified it, said he was different and was going to review everything and get rid of it. he lied.
    -–
    Agreed on that one.
    *************
    How about the Republicans who supported it and defended it, and who now oppose it for political points? The hypocrisy transcends both parties, as you accurately pointed out, so name them both.

    June 17, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "but to then release information about Americans spying on other countries is reckless."

    His excuse is that, in his opinion, they weren't "legitimate military targets." Who the fark elected him to insert his judgment into that decision making process? Oh, but I'm sure that being a systems administrator (i.e., "the office tech dude") made him privy to all military intelligence necessary to make those determinations on the nation's behalf?

    The more he keeps talking, the more suspect his motivations become. Keep talking, Snowden.

    June 17, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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