The Guardian

‘Is whistleblowing worth prison or a life in exile?’: Edward Snowden talks to Daniel Ellsberg

The two most famous whistleblowers of the last century discuss Steven Spielberg’s new film The Post, about Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers, the personal cost of what they did – and if they’d advise anybody to follow in their footsteps. Introduced by Ewen MacAskill
Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, the US military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation in 1971, released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of us government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times, speaks to reporters December 22, 2011, at Fort Meade, Maryland. Elsberg spoke on the similarity of his case to that of US Army PFC Bradley Manning who leaked restricted information to Wiki-Leaks and is having his preliminary hearing in a military court inside the base. / PAUL J. RICHARDS / Getty Images

Daniel Ellsberg, the US whistleblower celebrated in Steven Spielberg’s new film, The Post, was called “the most dangerous man in America” by the Nixon administration in the 70s. More than 40 years later, the man he helped inspire, Edward Snowden, was called “the terrible traitor” by Donald Trump, as he called for Snowden’s execution.

The Guardian has brought the two together – the most famous whistleblower of the 20th century and the most famous of the 21st so far – to discuss leaks, press freedom and other issues raised in Spielberg’s film.

Starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, The Post deals with Ellsberg’s 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers, which revealed presidents from Truman to Nixon lying about the Vietnam war. It deals, too, with the battle of the US media, primarily the Washington Post and the New York Times, to protect press freedom.

During a two-hour internet linkup between Ellsberg in Berkeley, California, Snowden in Moscow and the Guardian in London, the whistleblowers discussed the ethics, practicalities and agonised internal debate involved in whistleblowing and how The Post has a special resonance today in Trump’s America.

They are worried about Trump’s assault on press freedom and express fear that journalists could be indicted for the first time in US history. And they

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