Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General, believes Edward Snowden performed a “public service” by exposing the NSA and starting the debate over surveillance techniques. However, Holder still believes that Snowden must pay the price for his leaking of classified intelligence documents.
“I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in,” Holder said during an interview on “The Axe Files.” Holder added that Snowden’s actions and the way he leaked the information was “illegal” and “inappropriate.”
The former Attorney General says Snowden’s leak jeopardized the U.S.’s security interests, saying he “harmed American interests.” Holder points out that agents were put at risk, relationships with other countries were damaged and the government’s ability to keep American’s safe was compromised.
Snowden has spent the last few years in Russia in exile, but Holder believes he should return to the U.S. to face the consequences of his actions.
“I’ve already said from the very first moment that if the government was willing to provide a fair trial, if I had access to public interest defenses and other things like that, I would want to come home and make my case to the jury,” Snowden said. He added that the Espionage Act does not allow a public interest defense.