The Freedom of the Press board of directors is set to bring on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as its newest member. The addition will come into effect next month, the org announced.
“I am proud and honored to welcome Edward Snowden to Freedom of the Press Foundation’s board of directors,” said FPF co-founder Daniel Ellsberg. “Leaks are the lifeblood of the republic and, for the first time, the American public has been given the chance to debate democratically the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. Accountability journalism can’t be done without the courageous acts exemplified by Snowden, and we need more like him.”
Snowden will join founding members including Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, John Cusack, Xeni Jardin, John Perry Barlow and Ellsberg, a former United States military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
“The unconstitutional gathering of the communications records of everyone in America threatens our most basic rights, and the public should have a say in whether or not that continues,” Snowden said in a statement. “Thanks to the work of our free press, today we do, and if the NSA won’t answer to Congress, they’ll have to answer to the newspapers, and ultimately, the people.”
The org was founded in 2012 with the goal of supporting public-interest journalism. Since its inception, it has raised more than $500,000 for organizations including WikiLeaks, MuckRock and the National Security Archive.
Snowden is a former CIA employee and NSA contractor who disclosed classified NSA documents to the media last year, creating a national conversation. He is considered a fugitive by American officials and is under temporary asylum in Russia.