When Edward Snowden leaked classified information about U.S. intelligence programs this month, he became both a criminal and, many would say, a conscientious citizen. His quest to evade American authorities now risks making him a distraction.
As of this writing, Snowden's whereabouts are unknown. He reportedly flew Monday from Hong Kong to Moscow, but Russia says it has no information about him. Ecuador says he has asked for asylum.
What Snowden thinks he's up to is also in doubt. His asylum application says he can't expect a fair trial or humane treatment in the United States. Regardless of whether he's right, seeking aid from countries not exactly known for respecting the rights of their citizens raises the question of what exactly it is about the U.S.'s treatment of its citizens that is so noxious.