Civil Rights icon John Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Georgia, believes Edward Snowden's decision to leak classified information from the National Security Agency was an act of civil disobedience in-line with the non-violence teachings of figures like Henry David Thoreau and Gandhi.
"In keeping with the philosophy and the discipline of non-violence, in keeping with the teaching of Henry David Thoreau and people like Gandhi and others, if you believe something that is not right, something is unjust, and you are willing to defy customs, traditions, bad laws, then you have a conscience. You have a right to defy those laws and be willing to pay the price," Lewis sad in an interview with the Guardian published Wednesday. "I got arrested 40 times during the sixties. Since I've been in Congress I've been arrested four times. Sometimes you have to act by the dictates of your conscience. You have to do it.
"Some people say criminality or treason or whatever. He could say he was acting because he was appealing to a higher law," he added. "Many of us have some real, real, problems with how the government has been spying on people."