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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Putin: Snowden ‘Strange Guy’ Set For Tough Life

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who received asylum in Russia, is a “strange guy” who condemned himself to a difficult fate.

“You know, I sometimes thought about him, he is a strange guy,” ex-KGB spy Putin said in an interview with state-run Channel One television.

“How is he going to build his life? In effect, he condemned himself to a rather difficult life. I do not have the faintest idea about what he will do next,” Putin said.

The case has intensified strains between Russia and the United States and prompted President Barack Obama to cancel a visit to Moscow for a bilateral summit ahead of the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg this week.

“Well, it’s clear we will not give him up, he can feel safe here. But what’s next?” Putin said, suggesting that Washington, which wants to put him on trial, may in time reconsider its stance. “And maybe some compromises will be found in this case.”

But asked what would he do with the leaker were he a Russian national, Putin said he would do everything to make sure he is “held responsible in strict accordance with Russian law.”

Putin said while U.S. special services consider Snowden a traitor “he is someone with a completely different frame of mind and considers himself to be a fighter for human rights.”

Before receiving temporary asylum Snowden spent over a month marooned in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport where he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23.

In the interview, Putin revealed for the first time that he had known about Snowden’s request to receive asylum in Russia while he was still in Hong Kong and told him via his aides that he was welcome to arrive in Russia as long as he stopped his leaks.

“He was told about it,” Putin said of Snowden, adding he did not agree to his conditions. “And he left, just left, and that’s it,” he said, referring to the Russian diplomatic mission in Hong Kong which he said Snowden had contacted.

“Then he started flying to Latin America on a plane. I was told that Mr. Snowden was flying to us two hours before the plane’s landing.”

Putin’s revelation comes after he repeatedly stressed that Snowden had turned up in Russia uninvited.

The Russian strongman insisted that Russia did not receive any information from Snowden, reiterating that the country could not extradite him simply because Moscow and Washington did not have an extradition treaty even though Russia proposed concluding such an agreement.

“And what should we do after it? Hand him over there? Then conclude the agreement with us. If you do not want to, fine,” Putin said, adding Washington should not then insist that Russia extradite Snowden when the United States refuses to expel Russian “bandits.”

Snowden’s pro-Kremlin lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said for his part that the 30-year-old, who was previously based in Hawaii, was gradually adjusting to his new life in Russia.

“Right now everything is absolutely fine,” he told popular daily Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Kucherena declined to release any specifics or say where Snowden was staying, noting only that the American was in touch with his family as he awaited a visit by his father.

He was enjoying his new-found freedom, even if he “practically” had no money, Kucherena said.

“He likes to travel, he makes trips, he is getting himself acquainted” with Russia.

No sightings of Snowden have been reported since he left the airport last month.

Kucherena said Snowden likes reading the works of classic Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky and his Russian language skills were improving.

“He reacts, understands some things,” he said. “One cannot say that he has mastered the language but he will devote a lot of time to it.”

“But already he can say words such as “tyazhko, tyazhko” (it’s tough, it’s tough) and “stakan” (a glass).”

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • HistoryGeek

    It pains me to share the same last name as him. Our family has collectively started to refer to him as ‘crazy cousin Eddie.’ I sincerely think that he should suffer while he is in Russia.

    • curtishoward

      A lot of Americans feel Edward did a great service to this country. That service is protecting the freedoms that thousands have died for. Our government is slowly encroaching on those freedoms. If the people don’t keep the government in check then tyranny will undoubtedly follow.

      Edward is a patriot. He didn’t give up his life to protect the federal government, he give up his life to protect the people.

      In time all Americans will come to see this as being self evident.

      • Kevin Flynn

        A lot of other Americans feel that he betrayed his country, and the rest of us, by compromising our national security. The US government spies on us all the time, and if you didn’t know that, you are either blind or deluding yourself, but this “patriot” as you call him, has put the rest of us in danger. Admit it or not, this “patr-idiot” has cost all of us. Putin is old school KGB, and they were not very big on traitors of any kind. They will use him, and let him rot. Have fun in your new gulag.

  • 1CPBMichigan62

    He is going to be well taken care of for the rest of his life. Does anyone really think he was not debriefed by Russian Authorities and given compensation for his knowledge? He can be found working for the Russian Government somewhere where his knowledge and talent will be put to good use for Russian interests. He is not a stupid fella in any way. He just has to deal with the change of culture and he will be just fine. Good for him. The leaks he provided are only the tip of a giant iceberg. Anyone that think’s the United States Government has the interests of it’s own peoples right and privacy in mind is living on another planet. If the people of this country revolted for some changes we would be gassed as quickly as the people in Syria.

    • Diane P

      The Russian government will never employ Edward Snowden. He’s made it clear that he can’t be trusted, and Putin’s made it clear his actions would never be tolerated in Russia.

      Snowden’s “compensation” for the information he shared seems to be asylum, nothing more. The rest of his money comes from WikiLeaks.

  • Steve W.

    I think he is a HERO. Obama which I am crazy about and would vote for him a 3rd term if possible really should back off the guy as he said we were going to be about transparency. If the CIA and other agencies are taping our phones I do love knowing about it. They guy just revealed information that americans and people from other countries should know. Look if we are attached again this going to war shit for 10 years has got to go. They need to pull a big gun out next time and there be no hills in Afganistan or any country that kills 3000 US citizens. We need to send a resounding message and if Putin does not like that we can shoot one up his ass as well. This back and forth Cold War shit is getting old and it has controled our lives long enough.

    • playFFXI

      I’m not sure about the label “HERO”. The guy certainly did things that normally we would consider treasonous. However, he has certainly brought to light some very disturbing things which up until now had only “urban legend” status to the public and given us a wake-up call as to how bad the situation has gotten. He has revealed how big corporations are in bed with the government on keeping tabs on us, and has given us a picture of just how much of a Police state we are becoming. These technologies are certainly effective against Terrorism, but honestly, they can be turned into tools for a dictator at the flip of a switch, and I’m not sure which I fear the most… terrorism or tyranny by our own government. Our constitution certainly does not allow such activities. If we are to permit them to continue, we should do it by openly discussing the need for such draconian measures, and amending the constitution accordingly, not subjectively throwing this precious protector of our freedom on the ground and stomping on it. If Snowden just wanted to sell secrets he could have probably done so in a way that would have gone undetected for a long time, and kept himself out of the media. I truly believe that he was so disturbed by what he knows that he felt compelled to act. The way he’s destroyed his life is a testament to the seriousness of what he knows. I’m afraid he may know way more than he’s telling…especially if he is acting out of concern for liberty, but not out of a desire to destroy the security of his country. On another note, it is very, very disturbing that so much classified knowledge could be available to a subcontractor employee, with an obvious lack of oversight to ensure that these secrets are not leaked to our enemies. This is almost as disturbing as the other issues discussed.

  • mhaggag

    “He was enjoying his new-found freedom, even if he “practically” had no money.”
    Yeah.. enjoy the chicks and the mayonnaise mixed-in the Borscht… that’s about all the freedom you’re gonna get, idiot.