Actor Peter Sarsgaard has blasted the U.S. government for hunting down whistleblowers who betray state secrets, branding the practice a "ruse" to avoid facing up to a scandal.
The Jarhead star is furious officials are pursuing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and former Central Intelligence Agency (Cia) operative Edward Snowden, who both fled to Europe after publishing top-secret documents.
Assange's revelations featured various unpublicised military scandals, including a U.S. Air Force attack on Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, while Snowden helped to expose a mass surveillance operation on American citizens by their own government.
The information sparked international manhunts for the two men, but Sarsgaard is adamant authorities should be probing the incidents rather than trying to locate those who leaked the documents.
He tells The New Review magazine, "I just don't see the information compromises our security. I think it's a cop-out and I wish the focus of the American government was more on dealing with the information that came out, like what happened on that day with those helicopters. Why did that happen? How can we prevent that from happening? When we go for a targeted killing and accidentally kill a bunch of people, how did that happen and how can we prevent that from happening?
"I think it's all a ruse and completely wrong to go after these whistleblowers. I think that the American government needs to look at itself rather than (at) these other people."
Assange is currently living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London under an asylum claim, and Snowden is in hiding in Russia.