Carl Bernstein: 'Admirable aspects' to Snowden leaks

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But Bernstein said Snowden, who fled first to Hong Kong and is now stranded at the international terminal of the Moscow airport, has "got to face the music." He also suggested Snowden would have been better off remaining in the United States.

"He would have done better perhaps for himself and for his case, as we’re now seeing in this opera, to stay in the United States and say, ‘I did this for this reason,’ ” Bernstein said.

On Tuesday, the Post's editorial board wrote that "the first U.S. priority should be to prevent Mr. Snowden from leaking information that harms efforts to fight terrorism and conduct legitimate intelligence operations."

"The best solution for both Mr. Snowden and the Obama administration would be his surrender to U.S. authorities, followed by a plea negotiation," the paper — which itself published some of the Snowden documents — continued.

The editorial drew heavy criticism, including in a widely circulated post by Gawker's Hamilton Nolan.

"Take note, potential leakers and whistleblowers inside the U.S. government: the official stance of the Washington Post's editorial board is that you should shut up and go to jail," Nolan wrote. "Would-be Washington Post sources may wish to take that information into consideration when choosing where to leak to."