America now has a bloated and not very effective Homeland Security empire. Almost 5 million people with security clearance work for this almost unmanageable conglomerate. People need to understand that in such a huge group of employees, no matter what you do to improve personnel screening, another Snowden or Manning will happen. Guaranteed. Just a matter of time.
Americans want security. We the American people want our Government to protect us. First of all we have to understand that nothing can make the country 100% safe, no matter what we do. And the Boston bombing is a good example.
I don't have proof but I suspect that further expansion of the Homeland Security apparatus becomes less and less effective. There is the Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Rule). In other words 20% of people in any organization do 80% of the work. So, out of 5 million, 4 million are dead wood. http://betterexplained.com/articles/understanding-the-pareto-principle-the-80/20-rule/
“The inefficiency of size takes the form of an increasingly skewed noise to signal ratio.” http://pandodaily.com/2013/03/12/when-does-something-become-too-big-2/
In a way what Snowden did will help (hopefully) to improve the system and maybe even help to streamline the operations and improve efficiency.
About the “whistle blower”...he is not a hero. A well meaning fool with means can do a lot of damage. The unilateral disarmament is not a working option at the present time. And the fact that he is on the run and, out of all places, he ran to China and Russia?
I don't even blame nor am I surprised that they (China and Russia) did not return this fool to the US. We would do the same and jump at the opportunity to get the documents he stole from the NSA.
So, yes, there may be some benefits from this incident but this guy harmed the security of the US and perhaps put some lives in jeopardy. I doubt that Snowden is a spy...probably just an idealist. But actions speak louder than words. He went to China and Russia - the ”bastions of Democracy.” Fool!