Security

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden was ‘the one person in the f***ing NSA’ that did the right thing

Above: Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Image Credit: Laura Poitras

Over the weekend, two of the most famous whistleblowers in U.S. history, Edward Snowden and Pentagon papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, sat down at the HopeX hacker conference in New York to discuss how technology can empower dissent and protect your privacy.

What began as a calm panel on the state of whistleblowing quickly evolved into a heated discussion on whether Snowden is a traitor and why, in Ellsberg’s words, “Snowden was the one person in the f***ing NSA that did what he absolutely should have done.”

Watch the hour-and-a-half long talk below, or skip to the 53-minute mark for Ellsberg’s most intense moment.

More information:

Edward Snowden is an American former technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British gov... read more »

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35 comments
Stefan Caliaro
Stefan Caliaro

stfu Justin, he put his life on the line to open up a can of worms the public just accepted as status quo. If you did the same, you'd be running too, don't you worry about that.

Jeremy Burningham
Jeremy Burningham

You would not have the courage to do what he did in 5 life times.

Sergiu Stefan
Sergiu Stefan

Oh, I suppose you would have stayed on US soil to have a "fair" trial LOL

Marc Werner
Marc Werner

Justin Mandly you have to be smart to be a hero !

Nitin Bansal
Nitin Bansal

When law is corrupted, these theories don't apply

William Su
William Su

This sounds like something granddad would say from the boondocks in the episode about rosa parks and the bus

Dave Etheridge
Dave Etheridge

Now we just need someone to do the same in the UK. Time to spill the beans on the UKs clandestine monitoring programs

Russell Dreischmeyer
Russell Dreischmeyer

if he didnt run how could he continue to share evidence and rebuke allegations?

Chris Love
Chris Love

Lol if he didn't run he would at least be jailed if not killed for "treason"

Will Eagleton
Will Eagleton

He did plenty, why should he sit in jail for 20+ years?!? Sitting in jail doesn't make someone a hero he did what nobody else did and almost nobody would.

Chung Yang
Chung Yang

Hmm .. good point. I wasn't clear. I mean Snowden because he blew the whistle, escape to Russia, traded US military intelligence with Russia and becomes a Putin puppet. He betrayed and put the people of the United States at harm by collaborating with potential enemy of the state. Ellsberg, on the other hand, blew the whistle on the government. However, he stayed in the United States to stand trial and ultimately was exonerated due to public opinion against the Vietnam War. He did not betray the people of the United States by collaborating with potential enemy of the state. I have no problem with the fact that he may called hero by some people. If Snowden had real balls. He would have stood trial in the United States represented by ACLU or some other NGO legal team. I think he would have had a good chance of getting exonerated. And might have become a modern day hero. But that was not what he did. He is no Ellsberg. Ellsberg had balls.

Dan Hossom
Dan Hossom

TIL the full spectrum of conspiracy theorists to the NSA-loyalists and interns have seeped into the comment sections of VB articles now... Free lesson: government people == -1. Snowden "betrayed" the people in the government on behalf of the people it's supposed to govern. So where is your allegiance, really, if a whistle-blower is a "traitor"; with the government, or the people? Just admit your cowardly ways and that you're just about picking a "winning side".

Dan Hossom
Dan Hossom

You have the balls to do the same thing and stick around then, Justin. Until then, you're just talking out your ass with that.

Lisa Abeyta
Lisa Abeyta

Hi Harrison - apologies for striking a nerve, but the title struck one for me. I believe what I said was "... based on your title ...". I was not referring to your text but the title. The title is not in quotes and isn't clear that it's someone else's opinion. It appears to be the opinion of the VentureBeat editorial staff as written. That was the only point I was making. As to whether everyone has bias and opinions - that's rather obvious. But I was taught that the goal of a journalist (as opposed to an opinion-based columnist) was to rise above one's own bias to report facts so that one's copy allowed others to arrive at their own opinions based on those facts - not be led down a path to the writer's bias. But we could likely debate that all day. My initial post addressed the title only - wasn't slamming your copy.

Harrison Weber
Harrison Weber

It says "strong words from a national hero." The statement came from Daniel Ellsberg, as the headline says.

Harrison Weber
Harrison Weber

Are you talking about Daniel Ellsberg or Snowden?

Harrison Weber
Harrison Weber

Three things, Lisa Abeyta 1. As a former journalist, please re-read the headline. It quotes a statement from Daniel Ellsberg. 2. I find your comment that real journalism needs to be unbiased offensive. I do not believe in the "View from Nowhere." Every human is biased and I believe attempting to hide that bias is unethical and leads to inaccurate reporting. This is a common opinion among many journalists 3. This article is not biased at all. It simply states the facts, and highlights a quote from Ellsberg. I did not say Ellsberg was right. I just reported what he said.

Desislava Angelova
Desislava Angelova

Heroes are human. Human run, because fear is the most powerful human emotion. He sacrificed his life for the truth, that's enough for him to be heroe.

Joshua Darlington
Joshua Darlington

none of snowdens revelations were surprising. the admins incompetent reaction to the leak was alarming. amateurs should not be making decisions. its scary

Chung Yang
Chung Yang

Hooray for betraying one's own country. Great role model.

Lisa Abeyta
Lisa Abeyta

As a former journalist, I am surprised by the obvious bias in reporting based on your title. What happened to real journalism with unbiased, fact-based reporting in the age of digital news?

Isaac Khunga Jr.
Isaac Khunga Jr.

#SNOWDEN should be the greatest whistleblower.... in GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORD.............or somethin else

Manish Patel
Manish Patel

Nice. BTW. What country did this "hero" run to? Where are the black boxes for MH17? Why is this taking so long.

Nicholas M. Cummings
Nicholas M. Cummings

He did the right thing then fled to Russia to cooperate with their oppressive regime instead