A prominent American journalist has suggested that the Guardian writer who broke the NSA surveillance scoop should "almost be arrested" for "aiding and abetting" whistleblower Ed Snowden.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, a financial columnist for the New York Times and anchor of CNBC, joined other NBC journalists such as David Gregory and Chuck Todd in saying that Glenn Greenwald has acted illegally in allegedly helping 30-year-old Snowden escape Hong Kong.

"I would arrest Snowden and now I'd almost arrest Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who seems to be out there, he wants to help him get to Ecuador or whatever," Sorkin said live on CNBC on 24 June.

Earlier, Meet the Press host David Gregory asked the American blogger and writer "why shouldn't you, Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"

"I think it's pretty extraordinary," Greenwald said to Gregory, "that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies."

The Guardian columnist later criticised "establishment" journalists for driving personal hostility against him, claiming "they are far more servants to political power than adversarial watchdogs over it.

"They're just courtiers doing what courtiers have always done: defending the royal court and attacking anyone who challenges or dissents from it."

Civil liberties lawyer and Harvard professor of law Alan Dershowitz also lashed out at Greenwald on Piers Morgan Live, describing him as "a total phony. He is anti-American, he loves tyrannical regimes, and he did this because he hates America. This had nothing to do with publicising information."

A monitor broadcasts news on the charges against Edward Snowden
A monitor broadcasts news on the charges against Edward Snowden (Reuters)