When you sign up for a government security clearance, you are making a promise that you will not violate the trust put in you, by leaking secrets.
There is really nothing worse than an oath-breaker. Any kind of law-breaker you can kind of work with, except a liar, and particularly an oath-breaker. A man is truly only as good as his word.
Now I really don’t think anyone’s going to die over a revelation that a spy agency is spying on people. Still, leaking secrets is an act of treason, and should be punished accordingly.
I blame a lot of this leak stuff that’s been going on lately, on the endless barrage of movies/books/TV of solitary heroes squaring off against oppressive governments.
In the US military, we were told in basic training that you are not required to follow an unlawful order. But you better be real good and god-damned sure it’s an unlawful order, and you must bring it up your chain of command.
I would advise a similar approach to any potential self-styled heroes, contemplating a blatant violation of something they’ve sworn to do. It better be really important, because no one in their right mind is ever going to trust you, ever again. And if you believe you are in the right, don’t run. Take it like a man. At least that is worthy of a little respect.