Renowned Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg slammed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the nation's justice system for denying whistleblowers like Edward Snowden a "truly fair trial."
In an editorial published Friday in the Guardian, Ellsberg took direct aim at Kerry's controversial statement earlier this week, in which the Secretary of State declared, "There are many a patriot – you can go back to the Pentagon Papers with Dan Ellsberg and others who stood and went to the court system of America and made their case. Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor, and he has betrayed his country."
Ellsberg wrote in response, "Snowden would come back home to a jail cell – and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life."
According to Ellsberg, failures of justice are system-wide. "[T]he current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing," he argues.
Ellsberg held a series of news interviews to defend Snowden, including this one released Friday on Andrea Mitchell Reports:
In an interview segment with Brian Williams of NBC News posted online Thursday, Snowden said Ellsberg's whistleblowing inspired him to expose mass NSA surveillance.
In the Guardian, Ellsberg wrote of his deep respect for Snowden, who he says "has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States."