With the debate over Snowden and whether he is a traitor - with the Democrat and Republican establishment both claiming he is, it seems relevant to revisit the most famous unauthorized release of classified military materials - the Pentagon Papers - by Daniel Ellsberg, who had security clearance. Despite these specifically being classified war information in a war of vastly more American lives being lost, Ellsberg released them to the press. His actions were in conjunction with staff members of Senator Kennedy and a few other Democrats who opposed the war.
In those papers, it exposed the US military engaging in covert military operations in Laos and Cambodia (exposes those troops to danger), of actions of the government to overthrown the leader of S. Vietnam - who was assassinated as a result, and basically all war planning, war strategy, and all diplomatic actions of the US government and US military. The release lead to widespread protests in the USA. Some believe that is when public opinion turned against the war decisively. These were classified military and government materials.
He was put on trial but the case dismissed on technicalities and the argument that the government had illegally wiretapped him.
Far more lives were at stake than with what Snowden did as the USA was involved in a high casualty war at the time and it exposed USA military actions, tactics and diplomatic activities about the war.
Was Daniel Ellsberg a traitor who should have been imprisoned? Were staff members of Senator Kennedy who assisted in making the copies traitors?