The Wall Street Journal: White House doesn’t agree with Holder that Snowden performed ‘public service’

Days after an interview where former Attorney General Eric Holder appeared to praise former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden for sparking a debate on government surveillance and privacy, the White House said that President Barack Obama did not share his assessment that the disclosures were a “public service.”

The view of the administration is that “Mr. Snowden has been charged with serious crimes, he should return to the U.S., he should be afforded due process,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday.

Snowden provided classified information about the National Security Agency’s domestic and international surveillance programs to reporters from newspapers such as the Guardian and the Washington Post in 2013. He later fled to Hong Kong and then Russia, where he has remained. Snowden was charged with espionage in 2013.

Holder, who served as attorney general in the Obama administration between 2009 and 2015, said this week that Snowden’s disclosures deserved some credit for the beginning of a national conversation about privacy and surveillance.

An expanded version of this story is available at WSJ.com.

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