America's most famous whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, talked via video at a New York hacker conference earlier this week. What follows is a condensed transcript highlighting a portion of their exchange on why they each decided to leak and why they identify with one another. The panel was moderated by Trevor Timm of Freedom of the Press Foundation. Unedited video of the whole conversation is on YouTube:
EDWARD SNOWDEN: To Dan Ellsberg, thank you for everything you've done, for your service both inside the government and outside the government, for everything you've done for our nation, our society. You have given so many so much, and told us the truth about what our government was doing at a time when the truth was very hard to get. And I have to say, I watched a documentary about your life as I was grappling with these issues myself. And it had a deep impact and really shaped my thinking. So thank you for everything that you've done.
TREVOR TIMM: I was hoping Dan could describe what it felt like the first time he heard about Edward Snowden: his feelings on seeing what he had given the world.
DANIEL ELLSBERG: I can tell you exactly what I felt: hope, which had not been in great supply for me .... I felt that when Chelsea Manning was revealed. I used to ask myself, how often do you need a Pentagon Papers, which was a massive disclosure. One document doesn't do it, as Ed knows. They can say, "Well we changed that the next day," or, "That was just some particular little department, some low level person." So what you really need is a mass of stuff, as in the Pentagon Papers, that shows, no, this is what they said the next day and the day after that, and here's the official policy, and so forth. And I waited 40 years to hear that.