Snowden is raising a clear distinction between defense of nation and defense of government and its agencies.
There is a growing disconnect these days. The entrenched interests inside the beltway and/or those connected to the public trough in some way shape or form would like that to forever be interpreted as the same thing, to grant them a kind of perpetual carte blanche for the same old same old, flag waving or not.
Increasingly so ever since WWII. It is only growing larger, and has nothing at all to do with political party.
This government forgot why this nation once went to war. The American people have bifurcated; those fed from the government in some way shape or form and all of its chronic wars and emergencies, and those feeding it.
Its not a special breed of people that end up doing this. It is what humans do when they unfetter their local state for the latest really, really good cause and/or existential national emergency. Unfettering our own state to fight totalitarianism in WWII is something this nation has never recovered from, no matter how shiny the monuments are in DC.
Inevitably, it is the same E1s who bleed in the wars who end up paying for the gig when their service is over. That pyramid in and around DC is not made up of the bleeders.
Our version of The Hunger Games is not what they thought they were bleeding for.