These actions have been accompanied by a sea change in public opinion about surveillance. Poll after poll has shown that, for the first time ever, Americans think the government has gone too far in violating their privacy, with vast majorities believing the NSA scooping up a record of every phone call made in the United States invades citizens’ privacy.
While the administration certainly doesn’t believe Snowden is patriotic, Americans do. A Quinnipiac poll conducted this month found people agreed, 55 percent to 34 percent, that he was a whistleblower — a large margin that crossed party, gender, and age lines. A recent Reuters poll showed only 31 percent of the public thought he should be prosecuted.