While his critics have branded him a traitor, others have celebrated the release of the documents, likening them to the Pentagon Papers, the secret Vietnam War history whose publication by The New York Times in 1971 won the newspaper a Pulitzer.
In a statement issued by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Snowden called the award vindication for “everyone who believes that the public has a role in government.”
He saluted “the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop.”
At The Boston Globe, the newsroom was closed off to outsiders, and staff members marked the announcement of the breaking-news award — coming just a day before the anniversary of the bombing — with a moment of silence for the victims.
The attack last April 15 killed three people and wounded more than 260 near the finish line of one of the world’s most celebrated races, transforming a celebratory event into a scene of horror and heroics.
American journalism’s highest honor, the Pulitzers are given out each year by Columbia University on the recommendation of a board of distinguished journalists and others.
The two winners of the public service award will receive gold medals. The other awards carry a $10,000 prize.
The Center for Public Integrity’s Chris Hamby won the award for investigative reporting for detailing how lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners suffering from black lung disease.
The prize for national reporting went to David Philipps of The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colo., for an investigation that found that the Army has discharged escalating numbers of traumatized combat veterans who commit crimes at home.