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But the frightening, cold-blooded fact remains that global terrorism still threatens Americans. We know from a number of foiled plots and other sting operations that al Qaeda cells and other related terrorist groups are constantly testing our security, probing for opportunities to enter our country and kill as many Americans as possible.

Far-left activists such as filmmaker Michael Moore and Daniel Ellsberg are hailing Mr. Snowden as a “hero,” and legions of terrorist plotters are cheering his dirty deed, seeing it as a major blow to homeland security.

“For me, it is literally — not figuratively — literally gut-wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities,” Mr. Clapper said this week.

Mr. Snowden is a naive, libertarian ideologue with delusions of grandeur about his newfound fame, and given to hyperbolic and exaggerated claims about the power he had as a low-level tech consultant. In one of his self-absorbed diatribes, he bragged he could order wiretaps on any government official, from “a federal judge to even the president.”

In a note to The Post, he said, “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

Decisions about all surveillance operations should be “made by the public,” he said in a video with the Guardian newspaper of London. However, they are, in fact, made by the public with the election of representatives to Congress who write our laws.

Mr. Snowden will be arrested, brought back to the states and fully prosecuted for his crimes. Mr. Obama and his administration have to answer some troubling questions, too. How did this person gain access to the nation’s most classified national security secrets? How many other little-known contract employees — among the thousands who work in other classified programs — are leaking information to those who want to do us harm?

The president and his top intelligence advisers are sitting on a major breach of national security, but they have yet to explain how this happened and what they are doing to make sure this can’t happen again.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.