I agree with most of what Jeffrey Toobin has to say here, arguing that Snowden is neither a hero or a whistelblower. Particularly these passages.
These were legally authorized programs; in the case of Verizon Business’s phone records, Snowden certainly knew this, because he leaked the very court order that approved the continuation of the project. So he wasn’t blowing the whistle on anything illegal; he was exposing something that failed to meet his own standards of propriety. [...]
The American government, and its democracy, are flawed institutions. But our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this. Instead, in an act that speaks more to his ego than his conscience, he threw the secrets he knew up in the air—and trusted, somehow, that good would come of it.
He trusted that information to Glenn Greenwald, which almost guaranteed that nothing good would come of it. He’s toxic to rational debate and he makes it impossible to stake out a middle ground or compromise.