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July 15th, 2013
06:27 PM ET

Reporter: Snowden is 'the classically responsible whistleblower'

Former U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden already revealed the National Security Agency's massive reach into Americans' personal information.

The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, the reporter to whom Snowden continues to leak information, says Snowden has the "blueprints" for the NSA. But Greenwald says Snowden doesn't want that information made public.

"The reason that it's been a process that isn't instantaneous, that it's not an indiscriminate document dump is precisely because he is the classically responsible whistleblower," Greenwald said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"When I refer to the massive amounts of documents he has that could really do damage to the U.S. government, what I'm saying is that the claim that he's trying to harm the U.S. government is ludicrous. He's done the opposite. He's been incredibly responsible in asking us to report on this story as judiciously as we can," said Greenwald.

This information could be the ultimate "dead hand" for Snowden, an insurance policy in case anything happens to him. In that event, Greenwald says Snowden took steps to give certain people access to the encrypted documents he took with him. But it's not clear how that would happen, or who would get them.

"If I were the U.S. government, I would be hoping and praying that he stays in control of how these stories are being reported because of how responsible he's been," said Greenwald.

President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Monday that Snowden's position appears to have changed, and says his situation is "not clear" at this point. Putin also blames the U.S. for trapping Snowden in Russia by revoking his passport.

Snowden has been trapped in the transit area of Moscow's international airport since he fled there from Hong Kong more than three weeks ago.

Last Friday, Snowden requested asylum again from Russia, and reportedly said he'd agree to the Russians' condition that he stop leaking info – something he initially bristled at. Snowden made the request after meeting with human rights groups.

"He's trying to exercise his centuries-old and well established right in international law, which is to seek asylum," said Greenwald. "But he's been physically blocked from the United States government from doing so. He can't leave the airport in Moscow because the United States revoked his passport, blocked planes that they thought were carrying him, and has bullied other states out of allowing him to refuel."

Watch Glenn Greenwald's full interview in the video above.

Filed under: World Lead
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