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Russell Tice: Whistleblower or Criminal?

Brian Ross of ABC News reports that Russell Tice was one of the people who leaked the NSA spying program to the New York Times. My question is why is a guy who divulges highly classified information to people who aren’t cleared to have that information necessarily a whistleblower? How does ABC News know that Mr. Tice is a whistleblower and not a criminal?

The lead to Ross’s column on ABC News.com goes:

Russell Tice, a longtime insider at the National Security Agency, is now a whistleblower the agency would like to keep quiet.

Did it ever occur to ABC News that maybe the NSA wants to keep Tice quiet because they take seriously the sensitive nature of what they do every day to protect the nation against terrorist attacks?

The whole tone of the ABC report is this guy Tice is the good guy, the “whistleblower” courageously stepping forward to take on the unlawful NSA and Bush White House who are egregiously violating Americans' civil liberties.

What if ABC and Brian Ross are wrong and it is not Bush and the NSA who are breaking the law, but rather Mr. Tice?