CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Monday ripped into the man responsible for leaking secret information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.
“Every 29-year-old who doesn’t agree with what the government is doing doesn’t get permission to break the law, damage national security, and then run off to China when he’s done,” Toobin said on CNN’s Situation Room. “I mean, it is not the way you protest in the United States. There are ways to do it. I’m not sure this government program is a good program, but stealing documents from the NSA and then turning them over to Glenn Greenwald is simply not the American way and I think it is a disgrace what he has done.”
Former CIA employee and current defense contractor Edward Snowden on Sunday admitted he was the one who leaked a secret court order to Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald. The court order showed the NSA was amassing the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers.
Toobin also criticized Snowden’s decision to flee to China, where he has since gone missing.
“I mean, here is a guy who is concerned about free speech and he goes to China?” he remarked. “A country that represses more free speech in an hour than the United States does in a year?”
Earlier in the day, Toobin wrote at the New Yorker that Snowden was “a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison.”
Toobin’s counterpoint on CNN, Kathleen McClellan of the Government Accountability Project, said what Snowden had done was “courageous” and uncovered potentially illegal activity. She denied he could have released the information in a better way, noting that other NSA whistleblowers had been ignored and prosecuted.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by CNN, below: