One of the ways that supporters of the massive security state try to discredit people like Snowden (and Manning before him) is by suggesting that they only be listened to if they come forward and surrender themselves for trial.
Why? This isn’t an argument about the truth of the information that they bring forward — which would not be the subject of any trial. It’s illegal to leak real, classified information. If Snowden surrendered himself to the United States, we would not verify anything about the information that he has leaked.
It seems to be instead that these people believe that Snowden has no authority to speak on national matters unless he has faced the full legal repercussions of everything he has done.
But Barack Obama is an admitted user of cocaine. For which he has never stood trial. If Snowden’s unwillingness to be subjected to potential life in prison for a crime of conscience renders his character so degraded that he has nothing to add to the national discourse, why are these same paladins virtue not baying that the President of the United States be similarly ignored unless he faces the (far lesser) penalties for a crime he is indisputably guilty of that he did for no higher reason than to feel good?
(George W. Bush was an all-but-admitted user of cocaine as well, of course.)
The answer, of course, is that the people who advance this argument are hypocrites. If Snowden came forward and surrendered himself, he might help his cause among people who are kind of undecided and unclear about what’s happening, but he wouldn’t change a single mind among those who trumpet that he must come and turn himself in.