Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose leaks of secret documents set off a national and global debate about government spying, is joining the board of a nonprofit organization co-founded by Daniel Ellsberg, the well-known leaker of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.

The announcement by the group, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, is the latest contribution to a public relations tug of war between Mr. Snowden’s critics, who portray him as a criminal and a traitor, and his supporters, who say he is a whistle-blower and source for the news media in the tradition of Mr. Ellsberg.

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