Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Courage and principle are, for once, in the news.
I'm referring, of course, to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, and Edward Snowden, the whistleblower.
They both, at considerable risk to their own freedom, have done everything in their power to defend our freedoms as Americans.
By exposing the vast NSA spying operation that the Obama Administration has been running, both Greenwald and especially Snowden may face prosecution.
And Snowden, rather than remain anonymous, has chosen to come forward as the source of Greenwald's expose, saying with great fortitude: "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know have done nothing wrong."
He has no illusions about being safe. "I understand," he said, "that I will be made to suffer for my actions," and he reportedly is now in hiding somewhere in Hong Kong.
As with Bradley Manning, Snowden's critics are already charging that he's helping America's enemies.
But he's doing no such thing.
"My sole motive," he said, "is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
He added: "I can't in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom, and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."
Already, Greenwald and Snowden have sparked a much-needed debate about the USA Patriot Act, the powers of the NSA, and our vanishing Fourth Amendment.
Glenn Greenwald deserves a Pulitzer Prize for this scoop, and Edward Snowden deserves all of our thanks.
He is an American hero.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Stop the Trial of Bradley Manning.
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.