Noted whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg told CNN on Sunday night that he was “impressed” by Edward Snowden, the man who released top-secret documents revealing the NSA’s covert surveillance program. He said that Snowden demonstrated “the kind of courage that we expect of people on the battlefield.”

“I’m very impressed by what I’ve heard in the last couple of hours including Snowden’s own video here,” said Ellsberg, the first person prosecuted under the 1971 Espionage Act when he released the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. He added: “I think he’s done an enormous service — incalculable service. It can’t be overestimated to this democracy. It gives us a chance, I think, from drawing back from the total surveillance state that we could say we’re in process of becoming, I’m afraid we have become. That’s what he’s revealed.”

Ellsberg also praised the fellow whistle-blower in a piece in The Guardian on Monday, arguing that, in his estimation, Snowden’s NSA leak is more significant in American history than the Pentagon Papers.

“Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution,” he explained.

Read Ellsberg’s Guardian piece here. Watch his interview with CNN below:

— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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