Former US Attorney General Eric Holder has praised former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, saying he performed a valuable “public service” by leaking surveillance programs.
“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 “The Axe Files,” a podcast produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
But still Snowden must be punished for leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents, added Holder, according to a report published by CNN on Monday.
“Now I would say that doing what he did — and the way he did it — was inappropriate and illegal,” he said. Snowden “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…