Redux: Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden

This video begins by looking at the U.S. Supreme Court decision of New York Times v. United States (403 U.S. 713, 1971). The case revolves around Daniel Ellsberg and classified information that he leaked about the Vietnam War to the New York Times. An injunction was sought against the New York Times and Ellsberg was charged with the Espionage Act. Next the video looks at the recent case involving Edward Snowden. Starting in 2006, Snowden had been working for the CIA and then the NSA as a tech expert who was granted permission to classified documents. In 2012, Snowden leaked documents to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, exposing that the government was lying about their breach of Americans privacy. Currently, Snowden is residing under asylum in Russia while the U.S. Department of Justice has charged him with theft and with criminal charges under the Espionage Act.

The video concludes with comparing and contrasting the two cases and considering what charges should be held or dropped against Snowden. The differences between the cases lie in the immediacy of the information. When dealing with Ellsberg the information was regarding national security in the midst of a current war while Snowden’s information is about the privacy of the American people but doesn’t lead to a present danger. Then the similarities include both cases being charged under the Espionage Act and the persecution each man faced and is facing from the U.S. government.

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