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Glenn Greenwald: I Defend Snowden Like MSNBC Defends Obama '24 Hours A Day'

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AP Photo / FABIO MOTTA

"Sure. I do defend him just like people on MSNBC defend President Obama and his officials 24 hours a day," Greenwald said on the network Thursday.

"Not everyone on MSNBC does that 24 hours a day," responded Kristen Welker, NBC News' White House correspondent.

"No, not everybody, but a lot of people on MSNBC do," Greenwald responded. "Sure, I don't make any bones about the fact that I consider what Edward Snowden did to be quite heroic, just like I consider what Chelsea Manning did, Daniel Ellsberg, one of my political heroes. I as a journalist am grateful when people sacrifice their own interest to come forward and bring transparency to the United States government."

"That to me is what journalism is about and we need that in the United States," he continued. "I absolutely do defend what Edward Snowden does and I don't pretend otherwise."

Greenwald has been one of Snowden's staunchest defenders, and he openly took issue with TIME Magazine's selection for Person of the Year earlier this month. Snowden took second place, behind Pope Francis.