Daniel Ellsberg
Former Pentagon employee Daniel Ellsberg poses for photographs in central London, November 1, 2004. Reuters

Infamous whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has spoken to Brazilian newspaper "Folha" in support of former NSA analyst Edward Snowden. In Folha's exclusive interview, Ellsberg sates "it would be admirable if Brazil would grant Snowden asylum. The world needs to thank this guy." Ellsberg, 82, leaked a revealing study on the Vietnam War in 1971: dubbed the "Pentagon Papers," the leaked data resulted in an internal maelstorm that eventually led to the end of the war and the overthrow of President Richard Nixon.

Ellsberg is often compared to Edward Snowden, whose leak of classified NSA documents prompted a worldwide scandal as they revealed NSA spying operations both domestically and internationally. However, Ellsberg says that much has changed since he leaked the Pentagon Papers. "The country where I decided to stay and face justice was very different. The Supreme Court had several judges that guaranteed the defense of freedom of speech and of the press. Obama has already used the Espionage Act more times to persecute those who speak out than all previous presidents."

Ellberg goes on to praise Snowden for his efforts to defend democracy: "Snowden did the world a favor," he says. "Democracy is not compatible with governments controlling and knowing every personal communication, every credit card transaction, every e-mail, every cell phone message. This information can be used for blackmail, with political and commercial purposes." While Ellberg admits that "a certain degree of vigilance is necessary," he calls the NSA operations an "absurd scale of monitoring."

Returning to Brazil, Ellberg admits that "it's not easy to antagonize the richest and most powerful country in the world" yet while "Brazil could face sanctions...no country as the right to spy on the private communications of citizens around the world."

Last month , Edward Snowden wrote an open letter to the people of Brazil offering to help analyze the NSA's spy operations in the country and asking consideration for permanent asylum. Yet the Brazilian government has maintained its position stating it will not be considering granting Snowden permanent asylum. Snowden remains under temporary asylum in Russia.

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