Daniel Ellsberg, the architect of the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers leak, wrote a piece in the Washington Post defending the decision of Edward Snowden to elude capture by US authorities.
Ellsberg writes that the America that allowed him to be free while awaiting trial on charges of espionage in the early 1970 is a thing of the past.
Even after Ellsberg was indicted on 12 counts, he was only given a $50,000 bond — and all charges were dismissed in 1973 after the government attempted to introduce illegally obtained information in court.
Snowden, on the other hand, had no choice but to run if he wanted to shed light on government actions that he thought were harmful to our democracy, according to Ellsberg.
The 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor fled to Hong Kong and then Russia after blowing the whistle on previously unconfirmed data mining operations by the National Security Agency. He has been criticized for both eluding capture and reportedly leaking top-secret information to court favor with countries that could protect him.
Ellsberg writes: I hope Snowden’s revelations will spark a movement to rescue our democracy, but he could not be part of that movement had he stayed here. There is zero chance that he would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado. He would almost certainly be confined in total isolation, even longer than the more than eight months Manning suffered during his three years of imprisonment before his trial began recently.
Ellsberg also claims that Snowden has done nothing wrong.
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