My question is how was releasing that information helpful? While certainly unethical, bugging Merkel's phone (for instance) was NOT illegal under US law, and not forbidden under the NSA's charter, while the domestic data collection clearly was both illegal and forbidden. I applaud the exposure of the NSA's illegal activities, but I abhor the exposure of their legal ones.
This is why I believe he had other motives. Snowden is not a hero, he's an attention whore.
Reasonable people don't throw their life away for attention whoring, and I for one most certainly think Snowden is a reasonable person. Reasonable and *ethical* - what's wrong with USA (as well as most other countries and a whole lot of people) is the lack of ethics of any kind and I applaud Snowden for his clearly deep love for his country and hatred for sociopaths that are failing it and taking a huge dump on ethis of any kind.
Granted I'm not american and I thus have other reasons than well being of USA only for thanking Snowden, but let's play pretend and imagine that I were the same person I am now except I was american and I'll grant you I would be just as much cheering for Snowden as I am now.
I'm also thankful, as a Finnish citizen, to Snowden for uncovering how Sweden is in bed with NSA in spying out citizen.
There's something to be said for a patriot who throws his life away to do the right thing for not only his country, by exposing the wrongs their government (and//or three letter agencies), but for other countries as well - thank you Snowden.