The NSA surveillance of millions of emails and phone calls. The dogged pursuit of whistleblower Edward Snowden across the globe, regardless of the diplomatic fallout. And the sentencing of Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving a cache of government files to the website WikiLeaks. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg sees these events as signs that the United States is becoming a police state.

"We have not only the capability of a police state, but certain beginnings of it right now," Ellsberg told HuffPost Live Wednesday. "And I absolutely agree with Edward Snowden. It's worth a person's life, prospect of assassination, or life in prison or life in exile -- it's worth that to try to restore our liberties and make this a democratic country."

Ellsberg was a military analyst with the RAND Corporation in 1969 when he secretly copied thousands of classified documents about U.S. decision-making during the Vietnam War. In 1971, he leaked the files (known as the Pentagon Papers) to The New York Times and 18 other newspapers.

Although the Nixon administration tried to prevent the publication of the files, the Supreme Court ruled in New York Times Co. v. United States that the newspaper could continue publishing the files.

Ellsberg was later tried on 12 felony counts under the Espionage Act of 1917, and faced a possible sentence of 115 years in prison. His case was dismissed in 1973 on the grounds of gross governmental misconduct.

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama praised instances of whistle-blowing as "acts of courage and patriotism." Since becoming president, however, his administration has charged more people under the Espionage Act than all other presidents combined.

Click above to watch a clip of Ellsberg's interview with HuffPost Live. The full interview is available here.

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  • Pfc. Bradley Manning

    FILE - In this Friday, June 28, 2013 file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning arrives at the courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., for his court martial. On Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking a trove of classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

  • Bradley Manning

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted to a security vehicle outside a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after a hearing in his court martial. On Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking a trove of classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

  • Bradley Manning

    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, before a sentencing hearing in his court martial. The military judge overseeing Manning's trial sentenced Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving US secrets to WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Bradley Manning

    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, before a sentencing hearing in his court martial. The military judge overseeing Manning's trial said she will announce on Wednesday his sentence for giving reams of classified information to WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Pfc. Bradley Manning

    FILE - In a July 2, 2013, file photo Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., during the fifth week of his court martial. More than three years after his arrest in Iraq, Manning is set to learn the price he'll pay for leaking an unprecedented volume of classified information to a once-obscure, anti-secrecy website. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

  • Military Judge Sentences Bradley Manning

    FORT MEADE, MD - AUGUST 21: US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is escorted by military police as he arrives for his sentencing at military court facility for the sentencing phase of his trial on August 21, 2013 in Fort Meade, Maryland. Manning was found guilty of several counts under the Espionage Act, but acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • Military Judge Sentences Bradley Manning

    FORT MEADE, MD - AUGUST 21: US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is escorted by military police as he arrives for his sentencing at military court facility for the sentencing phase of his trial on August 21, 2013 in Fort Meade, Maryland. Manning was found guilty of several counts under the Espionage Act, but acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • Bradley Manning

    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted to a security vehicle outside a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, after a hearing in his court martial. A U.S. military judge is expected to announce her sentencing decision Wednesday in Manning's role in leaking classified material to WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Bradley Manning

    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning wears handcuffs as he is escorted to a security vehicle outside a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, after a hearing in his court martial. A U.S. military judge is expected to announce her sentencing decision Wednesday in Manning's role in leaking classified material to WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Bradley Manning

    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, before a hearing in his court martial. A prosecutor recommended in closing arguments Monday that Manning should spend 60 years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks. A U.S. military judge was set to deliberate the sentence of Manning on Tuesday for the largest leak of classified information in the country's history. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Bradley Manning

    FILE - In this July 30, 2013 file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md. Manning is expected to give a statement Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, during the sentencing phase of his court-martial for leaking military and diplomatic secrets. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)