MEDIA
10/16/2013 08:56 am ET Updated Dec 16, 2013

Jill Abramson Defends Snowden Stories: 'Very Much In The Public Interest'

New York Times editor Jill Abramson defended the media's handling of the Edward Snowden leaks in an interview on the BBC on Tuesday night.

Speaking to famed interrogator Jeremy Paxman, Abramson--whose paper has written some stories based on Snowden's documents, and who has confirmed that she refused a British request to hand the documents over--said that the various outlets who have reported the story have done so responsibly and "very much in the public interest."

"It distresses me to see other people in the media being critical of journalists doing their job, which is to inform the public, and I think these articles have been in service of that," she said.

Asked why she felt she could be a reliable arbiter of what material would not harm national security, Abramson said she had years of experience in making such calls and trusted her judgment.

"When the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers back in the 1970s, the same claims were made, that publishing did grave harm to national security, and yet a couple of years after we published them, the same officials who said that admitted that actually there had not been any real harm to national security," she said.

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