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Watch Snowden’s Lawyer Back Away from Snowden/Underground Railroad Comparison

Ben Wizner, attorney for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, got into it with Up host Steve Kornacki Sunday morning over whether Snowden had sacrificed his moral authority as a whistleblower by fleeing the United States (and eventually ending up in Russia) rather than accepting the legal consequences of leaking classified information. To this Wizner posed: “Do you think people who used the Underground Railroad should have stayed and faced the consequences of the Fugitive Slave Act?”

“So you’re likening them?” Kornacki asked. “That’s quite a comparison.”

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Wizner quickly backed away from the direct comparison, amending thusly: “I’m saying if Reverend King had gone to New York instead of going to prison in Birmingham, no one would have said he didn’t stay in Birmingham to face the music.”

“But part of the moral power of that was civil disobedience,” Kornacki said. “He was willing to get arrested, he was willing to pay the price legally, even if it was unjust. That’s part of the moral power of civil disobedience, isn’t it?”

“And it may be that Edward would have more moral power if we never saw him again because he was in a special administrative measures in an isolation cell and couldn’t speak to the public and couldn’t speak to the press,” Wizner said.

“Instead he’s in a country that does that to its own citizens routinely,” Kornacki countered. “He’s in Russia!”

Watch the clip below, via MSNBC:

[h/t Tommy Christopher, Daily Banter]

[Image via screengrab]

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