Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden has called the indictment of an NSA contractor by the Justice Department “a fundamental threat to the free press."

The condemnation by Snowden of the indictment came Tuesday through the Freedom of the Press Foundation. It followed Monday's Justice Department announcement that NSA contractor Reality Winner had been charged with leaking classified information to the press.

Read: Contractor Reality Winner Arrested For Leaking Classified NSA Information

The charges against Winner do not mention a specific incident, but it is believed the indictment is related to the publication of an NSA document that details Russian cyberattacks aimed at interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The classified report was provided to the Intercept, a publication founded by Glenn Greenwald, who reported extensively on classified documents disclosed by Snowden primarily dealing with domestic and global surveillance programs.

The Intercept has been accused of being careless in protecting the source that provided it with the leaked document though the publication has rejected those claims, arguing they are “unproven assertions and speculation designed to serve the government’s agenda and as such warrant skepticism.”

Regardless of what may have led to the indictment of Winner, Snowden voiced his concern that such charges are harmful to freedom of speech and the free press.

Read: Did Russia Hack The US Election? Senator Warns Russian Cyberattack Worse Than Reported

"The prosecution of any journalistic source without due consideration by the jury as to the harm or benefit of the journalistic activity is a fundamental threat to the free press. As long as a law like this remains on the books in a country that values fair trials, it must be resisted," Snowden said, taking particular issue with the use of the Justice Department’s decision to charge Winner under the Espionage Act, which he said “explicitly forbids” a jury from hearing why the accused acted and prevents the jury from deciding whether the outcome of a leak was to the benefit of the public.

Snowden warned that even if the charges against Winner are true, holding her in custody indefinitely without the ability to communicate while she awaits trial for her alleged crimes “should outrage us all.”

Snowden’s full statement:

"The Justice Department released an indictment of 25-year-old NSA contractor Reality Winner yesterday, just a few hours after the Intercept posted a story based on a top secret document that described how the NSA believes Russian actors tried to hack into U.S. voting infrastructure. Much is unknown as the public is made to depend upon the potentially unreliable claims of government prosecutors while Winner is held in jail without any contact with the public.

"What we do know is clear: Winner is accused of serving as a journalistic source for a leading American news outlet about a matter of critical public importance. For this act, she has been charged with violating the Espionage Act — a World War I-era law meant for spies — which explicitly forbids the jury from hearing why the defendant acted, and bars them from deciding whether the outcome was to the public's benefit. This often-condemned law provides no space to distinguish the extraordinary disclosure of inappropriately classified information in the public interest — whistleblowing — from the malicious disclosure of secrets to foreign governments by those motivated by a specific intent to harm to their countrymen.

"The prosecution of any journalistic source without due consideration by the jury as to the harm or benefit of the journalistic activity is a fundamental threat to the free press. As long as a law like this remains on the books in a country that values fair trials, it must be resisted.

"No matter one's opinions on the propriety of the charges against her, we should all agree Winner should be released on bail pending trial. Even if you take all the government allegations as true, it's clear she is neither a threat to public safety nor a flight risk. To hold a citizen incommunicado and indefinitely while awaiting trial for the alleged crime of serving as a journalistic source should outrage us all."