Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden on Tuesday condemned the charges against accused NSA leaker Reality Leigh Winner and called for Americans to resist the Espionage Act.
Calling it "a World War I era law meant for spies," Snowden criticized the Espionage Act because it "explicitly forbids the jury from hearing why the defendant acted, and bars them from deciding whether the outcome was to the public's benefit."
"This often-condemned law provides no space to distinguish the extraordinary disclosure of inappropriately classified information in the public interest- whistleblowing-from the malicious disclosure of secrets to foreign governments by those motivated by a specific intent to harm their countrymen," Snowden wrote in a statement published by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
Snowden also said that regardless of opinions on the specific charges against Winner, Americans should get behind allowing her release on bail pending trial because she is not a "threat to public safety nor a flight risk."
Winner, a federal contractor, was arrested on Saturday and is facing charges that she leaked classified NSA documents to journalists.
Snowden was granted asylum in Russia in 2013 after he leaked secret information from the NSA's surveillance programs. He faces charges of theft and violating the Espionage Act, which could get him 30 years in prison if he is caught and convicted.