Glenn Greenwald went head-to-head with The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus on Thursday during a debate about whether Edward Snowden should be granted clemency.
The New York Times and the Guardian recently made headlines after arguing that Snowden — who leaked revelations about the NSA's secret domestic security programs to former Guardian columnist Greenwald, as well as The Washington Post — should be granted some form of clemency.
On Thursday, Marcus told CNN's Jake Tapper that she disagreed. "If he really believes in the Constitution, as I wrote, he should have stuck around, tested the constitutional system, taken his punishment, argued that he was justified in the leaks that he did," she said.
Greenwald pushed back strongly. "I think Ruth Marcus' argument exemplifies everything that's horrible about the D.C. media," he said, speaking via satellite from Brazil. He said that her statement was "completely factually false" and that Snowden "would have been barred" from making his case to the public had he stayed in the U.S.
"The really important point is that people in Washington continuously make excuses for those in power when they break the law. Ruth Marcus was one of the leaders in 2008 saying that Bush officials that torture people shouldn't be prosecuted, they should be protected. She praised and protected FBI agents in the '70s who entered people's homes without warning and were criminally prosecuted, saying they shouldn't have been prosecuted. That's what people in Washington do. They would never call on someone like James Clapper, who got caught lying to Congress, which is a felony, to be prosecuted. They only pick on people who embarrass the government and the administration to which they are loyal, like Edward Snowden. It's not about the rule of law."
Marcus shot back, saying that she does not believe that Clapper should be in Congress. Greenwald pressed her on whether she believes he should be prosecuted. The two engaged in a heated back-and-forth, with Greenwald accusing her of having a "total double standard" and of being a "loyalist" to the Obama administration.
Watch Greenwald spar with Marcus in the clip above.