I just don't think he did it for patriotism. Look:
The more and more I read about him it just seemed he did this out of ego. I guess that's besides the point.
Hero or no, he did help shine the light on our government's behind the scenes activities. Namely, secret courts providing blanket orders to harvest our personal data.
While Constitutionally dubious, I normally wouldn't have too much of a problem. I was for the Patriot Act when it was passed. Then around 2004 I started thinking like an adult and realize the awful standard that had been set.
But when one mashes the NSA scandal with the IRS scandal and AP/Fox News snooping, one can't block out the more sinister, tinfoil hat conspiracy thoughts.
The bottom line of all these scandals is that the government paints itself as an incompetent, vindictive, untrustworthy, unaccountable bureaucrat who might have a substance abuse problem. But if you would just give them some more money, everything will be solved...