Continued from page 1

“The Obama administration, in my view, is to blame in large part for the situation we now see,” Mr. Kohn said. “There is no avenue for a national-security employee to raise concerns about illegality and misconduct. Any avenue that exists is so heavily weighted against the whistleblower, we recommend against it.”

He said “there is no recourse” for national security workers like Mr. Snowden who believe they are witnessing abusive government practices.

“Up until Snowden, most of them tried to go anonymously, and leak it, which is a smart move if you have no other move,” Mr. Kohn said. “The choices are bleak.”

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation of the national security leaks, and several lawmakers have called for Mr. Snowden’s extradition to the U.S. The White House on Tuesday refused to characterize Mr. Snowden either as a leaker or a whistleblower, with Mr. Carney saying they didn’t want to comment during an ongoing investigation.

A coalition of privacy advocates and online companies asked Congress on Tuesday to halt the NSA surveillance programs and conduct an investigation.

“This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at the bedrock American values of freedom and privacy,” the group said in a letter to Congress. “This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously and guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that protect their right to privacy.”

Among the signers of the letter are the American Civil Liberties Union, Reddit, Mozilla, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Demand Progress, a liberal advocacy group focused on civil liberties and civil rights.

The coalition called for a number of specific reforms in their letter to Congress, including reforming Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the “business records” section that, through secret court orders, was used to collect phone records of millions of Verizon customers.