True, as Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of NSA, worries, if Snowden is not punished, then others like him will not be deterred.
There’s the nub of it, right there. These people don’t give a rat’s ass about the security of the United States or the privacy of her citizens. What they’re really frightened of is having their own depredations against the nation, its people, and the Constitution exposed to public view and recrimination against the perpetrators.
Hence, punishment as deterrence. As several have put it, they’d like to shoot Snowden in the head, because only something like that might have enough horror to act as a deterrent against anybody ever being foolish enough in the future to expose their criminally dirty laundry.
They’d murder every whistle-blower alive, if they could. That’s the bottom line. Most chumps aren’t able to see, let alone understand, why that is.