He collected a lot of data of criminal activity, far too much for him to do more than scan it. He then turned it over to the most reputable and responsible journalists he could find, and he had the sincere belief that they would exercise good judgment in deciding what parts of it were properly newsworthy and what parts were irrelevant or should be protected.
I think for exposing the criminal elements there, he should surely be commended.
At the same time, isn't the major complaint about the criminality of the programs that he exposed is that they collected far too much data in the belief that the intelligence and law enforcement agencies would exercise good judgment in deciding which parts of it were properly about legitimate foreign intelligence targets issues and which parts were about US citizens or gathered in the US and thus protected. In fact, that's what the minimization procedures [PDF] were designed to do, see Â3(b)(4). I certainly don't believe that the minimization procedures were sufficient to make the program lawful or desirable.
But then can I really believe that Snowden's minimization strategy to avoid disclosing legal programs was sufficient to make his actions lawful or desirable?