The documents leaked by Snowden, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, fostered public debate and changes the United States has made to surveillance practices in the aftermath, Holder told the CNN broadcaster’s podcast Monday. He served in the Obama administration when the whistleblower shared 1.7 million NSA documents with the US and British press in 2013.
"I would point out that even Mr. Holder pointed out in that interview that ‘he’s broken the law, in my view’," Earnest said at the daily briefing, adding that Snowden should face due process in the United States.
Washington’s longstanding position that Snowden should stand trial in his home country comes amid renewed accusations of poor whistleblower protection laws.
Snowden is wanted in the United States on charges of espionage and theft of government property, which could see him sent to jail for 30 years.
After fleeing initially to Hong Kong, the former NSA contractor became stranded at a Moscow airport for a month before Russia granted him one-year asylum. In August 2014, the activist received a three-year residence permit in Russia.