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Al Gore Says Edward Snowden's NSA Leaks Were 'An Important Service'

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Former Vice President Al Gore said Edward Snowden did "an important service" by leaking documents that detailed the extent of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs one year ago.

Asked to define Snowden as either a whistleblower or a traitor, Gore said he would "push it more away from the traitor side."

"He clearly violated the law so you can't say OK, what he did is all right. It's not," Gore told Pando Daily during an interview at the Southland technology conference in Nashville, Tennessee. "But what he revealed in the course of violating important laws included violations of the U.S. constitution that were way more serious than the crimes he committed."

"In the course of violating important law, he also provided an important service," Gore continued. "OK. Because we did need to know how far this has gone."

Gore said internet companies need to "pay attention" to correcting the "gross abuses of individual privacy that are ongoing in the business sphere." Some tech companies did get serious about privacy after the Snowden revelations, adding new and better encryption measures.

Read more from Gore at The Guardian.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect Gore's comments were made to Pando Daily, not The Guardian.

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