BOISE -- Brian Williams' exclusive interview with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden aired Wednesday night. Since then, people from across the country have reacted on social media, with a slight majority seeming to support Snowden.
But today KTVB talked to an expert who says Snowden did nothing less than commit treason.
Snowden said in that interview, People at NSA, analysts can actually watch people's Internet communications, watch them draft correspondence, and actually watch their thoughts form as they type.
Mike Baker is a former CIA covert operations officer now living in Boise, who said he understands why some people may see what Snowden did as heroic. But Baker says it was anything but.
He betrayed the trust, said Baker. He broke his secrecy agreements. He stole classified information and handed it over to unauthorized individuals.
Baker says Snowden did the things that most people do who betray anyone's trust, especially inflating the opinion of himself.
Snowden said he was essentially a spy, Baker calls that nonsense.
I think what he was trying to say was, 'Look, I had this classified job that took me overseas.' You know what? Congratulations, so do a lot of other people, said Baker.
Baker also takes issue with Snowden saying that what he did was civil disobedience, that didn't hurt anyone. According to Snowden, If after a year they can't show a single individual who's been harmed in any way by this reporting, is it really so grave?
But, Baker says, He was an IT administrator. He was not an intelligence officer. He was not an analyst. He was not involved in operations. So, he has no concept as to how this information is placed back out in the field and how it impacts everything from how terrorist organizations understand what the NSA does, and how they try to defeat the terrorist organizations, to what countries like China and Russia, who do not have our best interests at heart, use this information to then work against us.
So, what about many people's claims that Snowden is a hero for revealing what they see as an intrusion into people's privacy?
Baker's opinion is that revealing this information in this way is dangerous. Also, he believes calling Snowden a 'patriot' shows ignorance of what intelligence officers have to face everyday across the globe.
I think it's a misinformed opinion based on no experience in a very difficult and dangerous world, said Baker. Nor is it a particularly informed opinion on exactly what NSA was doing. So, I understand why people would feel that way. I get it. But, I certainly don't agree with it at all.
Baker says it is important to have conversations about how government agencies collect information. But he says that should be happening in Congress.
I think the problem is that we don't have those discussions, said Baker. We don't pursue these things, because we often times continue to send people to Washington who are not up to the task.
Snowden also says he wants to come back to the U.S. But Baker doesn't see that happening considering the charges he would face.