One of the nation's biggest leakers of intelligence secrets, Edward Snowden, is getting a big thank you from a Washington public interest group that has cheered his work from his Moscow hideout.

Starting next week, Washington, D.C., Metrobuses will carry ads reading “Thank you, Edward Snowden,” featuring a photo of the bespectacled former government contractor that has riled international relations with his release of secret intelligence files.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which is funding the ads, is building support for Snowden, considered a traitor in national security circles.

“We believe that Mr. Snowden, at great personal risk, provided a critical public service by igniting a public debate about the government’s massive secret spying program and bulk data collection of the phone calls, emails and other communications of the American people and the world,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at