Though still living under asylum in Russia after leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents to journalists more than two years ago, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden dipped his toe in U.S. presidential politics during an interview segment with Al-Jazeera that aired on Thursday.
Asked by UpFront host Mehdi Hasan about comments made about him by the current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump—who once called the whistleblower a "a bad guy" and insinuated he could be executed for the disclosures—Snowden simply said it was "very difficult to respond in a serious way to any statement that’s made by Donald Trump."
Subsequently asked about the current Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who previously accused Snowden of "helping terrorists" by revealing to the global public intelligence programs which both federal courts and the U.S. Congress have judged as stepping way over the line, Snowden said that though it was not his "place to say" whether or not Clinton endangered national security with her controversial use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, he said it was "ridiculous" for such a high-ranking official to think such a system would be more secure than channels used by government officials and intelligence staff.
"If an ordinary worker at the State Department or the CIA … were sending details about the security of embassies, which is alleged to be in her email, meetings with private government officials, foreign government officials and the statements that were made to them in confidence over unclassified email systems," Snowden said, "they would not only lose their jobs and lose their clearance, they would very likely face prosecution for it."
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UpFront's complete interview with Snowden, which also includes discussion with Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked what became known as the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, will air on Al-Jazeera on Friday.