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Editorial: Free to talk, leave

The naysayers and the unpatriotic continue to cheer on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. That may irritate and disgust the average American, but calling Snowden a hero or labeling him a revolutionary is protected speech.

These malcontents have nothing to lose with their words, tweets and website posts — and that speaks to the strength of this free nation. They know it and are enjoying themselves.

The information Snowden released through the Internet and around the globe, however, is another matter. With freedom of speech and expression comes responsibility. He must be held accountable.

He may be a whistleblower on federal monitoring of citizens’ Internet activities, but he also is a thief.

The man stole classified documents. He stole government property. He spewed sensitive data across the world. He damaged national security.

We doubt those championing him and his illegal — and potentially treasonous — acts would like to try living in one of the repressed nations offering him political asylum. Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have said they would welcome Snowden. They are welcome to him — after he’s been brought home and tried in a fair court of law.

His cheering section is free to leave anytime.