Announcing Our New Freedom of the Press Foundation Board Member, Edward Snowden

by Daniel Ellsberg on January 14, 2014

I’m proud and honored to announce our new Freedom of the Press Foundation board member, Edward Snowden.

Here’s what I said in today’s press release:

[Snowden] is the quintessential American whistleblower, and a personal hero of mine, Leaks are the lifeblood of the republic and, for the first time, the American public has been given the chance to debate democratically the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. Accountability journalism can’t be done without the courageous acts exemplified by Snowden, and we need more like him. . . .

The secrecy system in this country is broken. No one is punished for using secrecy to conceal dangerous policies, lies, or crimes, yet concerned employees who wish to inform the American public about what the government is doing under their name are treated as spies. Our ‘accountability’ mechanisms are a one-sided secret court, which acts as a rubber stamp, and a Congressional ‘oversight’ committee, which has turned into the NSA’s public relations firm. Edward Snowden had no choice but to go to the press with information. Far from a crime, Snowden’s disclosures are a true constitutional moment, where the press has held the government to account using the First Amendment, when the other branches refused.

Edward Snowden said:

It is tremendously humbling to be called to serve the cause of our free press. . . on FPF’s Board of Directors. The unconstitutional gathering of the communications records of everyone in America threatens our most basic rights, and the public should have a say in whether or not that continues. Thanks to the work of our free press, today we do, and if the NSA won’t answer to Congress, they’ll have to answer to the newspapers, and ultimately, the people.

Here’s what I told the New York Times in their blog post on the announcement: “Snowden is no more of a traitor than I am, and I am not a traitor. He has done more for our Constitution in terms of the Fourth and First Amendment than anyone I know.”

Here’s the interview I did on CNN:

[1/15/13] And here’s a dialogue I did about the announcement, on Reddit

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