Daniel Ellsberg, former United States military analyst considered the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, speaks during mass rally in support for PFC Bradley Manning on June 1, 2013 in Fort Meade, Maryland (Photo by Lexey Swall/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg calls the revelations by a government contractor on U.S. secret surveillance programs the most "significant disclosure" in the nation's history.
In 1971, Ellsberg passed the secret Defense Department study of U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other newspapers.
He told The Associated Press Monday that the leaks by Edward Snowden to The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers are more important than the Pentagon Papers and information given to the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks by Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.
Snowden is a former CIA employee who later worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency. He told the newspapers about a government program that tracks American phone records and another one that tracks phone and Internet messages around the world.