For certain, Edward Snowden is a leaker. Also for certain, the contents that he has under his control someplace contains state secrets that are embarrassing and threatening to national security. He broke the law and agreements with his employer for which he should face criminal prosecution.
Along the way, he can make his argument that he has already taken public that what he did is justified by the wrongs committed by the government against citizens and the nation. He claims that surveillance by the government was illegal and wrong in the extreme. That argument and case can be presented in due course. However, it does not exonerate Snowden from criminal prosecution.
Did he betray the nation as a traitor? That too must be considered in legal prosecution. It appears that by fleeing to nations that are less aligned with US foreign policy, and his handling of state secrets along the way, are evidence that he posed a great risk to the nation and undermined national security. If so, he could be a traitor.
Now, balance that with his alleged intentions to be a patriot who is protecting citizens rights to privacy and freedom under the US Constitution. There is a thread of evidence that indicates that Snowden’s intentions contain a noble purpose. There is also a thread to be played out in time that his motivation contains self-interest. He has now become a “celebrity of notoriety”.
Down the road, if he were to escape prosecution or to cut a deal, could he benefit from the crime?
“A Son of Sam law is any American law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers. However, this is not in the same manner of asset forfeiture, which is intended to seize assets acquired directly as a result of criminal activity. Where asset forfeiture looks to remove the profitability of crimes by taking away money and assets gained from the crime, Son of Sam laws are designed so that criminals are unable to take advantage of the notoriety of their crimes. Such laws often authorize the state to seize money earned from deals such as book/movie biographies and paid interviews and use it to compensate the criminal's victims. The term "Son of Sam" refers to the nickname of serial killer David Berkowitz, the subject of a notorious 1978 murder case.
In certain cases a Son of Sam law can be extended beyond the criminals themselves to include friends, neighbors, and family members of the lawbreaker who seek to profit by telling publishers and filmmakers of their relation to the criminal. In other cases, a person may not financially benefit from the sale of a story or any other mementos pertaining to the crime—if the criminal was convicted after the date lawmakers passed the law in the states where the crime was committed.”
As it is, he is living in Russia, performing website maintenance, and eating lots of ramen noodles.