Eric Holder: Snowden did ‘public service’ by leaking secrets
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder thinks fugitive leaker Edward Snowden actually performed a “public service” when he passed on classified NSA secrets to journalists. “We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,” Holder told David Axelrod on his CNN-produced podcast “The Axe Files.” Holder, who served as U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015 — while Snowden was leaking top secret information, nevertheless maintained that the former contractor should face consequences. “Now I would say that doing what he did — and the way he did it — was inappropriate and illegal,” Holder said, adding that Snowden’s actions “harmed American interests.” “I know there are ways in which certain of our agents were put at risk, relationships with other countries were harmed, our ability to keep the American people safe was compromised,” he said. “I think there has to be a consequence for what he has done,” Holder added. “But, I think in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, I think a judge could take into account the usefulness of having had that national debate.” Snowden said earlier this year that he would consider returning to the U.S. if he was granted a fair trial for his crimes. After sparking global outrage in 2013 when he first began leaking classified information to journalists about the U.S. government’s previously secret eavesdropping powers, the former NSA contractor took off for safer ground and was charged by the U.S. with espionage — charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years. He first fled to Hong Kong, and then Moscow, where he has was granted permission to remain for at least three years.
Well, at least someone who used to serve in Government finally admits it! We can all argue over the logistics of things, but in the end, what Snowden did was a public service.