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Moscow (AFP) – The Russian lawyer of Edward Snowden said Tuesday that the fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker has feared for his life since reading of explicit threats against him by unnamed Pentagon officials.

“There are real threats to his life out there that actually do exist,” Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russia’s state-run Vesti 24 rolling news channel.

“These statements call for physical reprisal against Edward Snowden,” Kucherena said.

The former National Security Agency contractor is wanted by U.S. authorities on treason charges for disclosing details of a vast Washington intelligence operation that monitored millions of phone calls and emails across the world.

Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia in August — a move that infuriated the United States and was a key factor behind President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel a summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin last year.

The 30-year-old has remained in hiding but is believed to be living in the Moscow area and learning Russian. Kucherena recently said that Snowden has also been working from home as an IT adviser for a major local website.

The Russian lawyer on Tuesday appeared to be referring to an article posted last week by the popular U.S. online website BuzzFeed entitled: “American Spies Want Edward Snowden Dead.”

The article quoted one Pentagon official as saying: “I would love to put a bullet in his head.”

“In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself,” a current NSA analyst was further quoted as saying.

Kucherena said Snowden is constantly accompanied by security guards and is considering additional security measures.

“Edward is treating these as real threats to his life and wellbeing,” the Russian lawyer said. “Today, it might not be enough to have private guards.”

Kucherena added that he planned to ask U.S. authorities to look into the publications and possibly ask the media outlets to identify their sources by name.

“We think that the U.S. government must take note of such statements,” the lawyer said. “The people who make extremist statements do so while wearing a mask — they do not reveal their identities. We will ask for these people’s masks to come off. We must know who this NSA officer is, who issues orders about ways to eliminate Edward Snowden.”

Snowden’s legacy has been mixed in the United States.

It has prompted Obama to announce a review of intelligence practises last week that included an end to the highly controversial monitoring of calls of leaders of allied nations — except for special cases.

The revelation that the NSA had tapped the mobile of German Chancellor Angela Merkel proved especially embarrassing for Obama due to the strength of their relationship and Germany’s importance to the United States.

Influential publications such as The New York Times have added to the debate by suggesting that Snowden be either offered amnesty or a plea bargain allowing his safe return home.

The fugitive’s lawyer said Snowden was especially concerned by comments from a U.S. Army intelligence officer that outlined a specific scenario under which the leaker could be discreetly poisoned.

The unnamed army officer told BuzzFeed that Snowden could be “poked” on his way home from buying groceries by a passerby who is actually a U.S. agent.

Snowden “thinks nothing of it at the time (and soon) starts to feel a little woozy,” the U.S. intelligence officer is quoted as saying. “And the next thing you know he dies in the shower.”

Kucherena said he did not think the U.S. Army officer’s statement was “a simply tongue-and-cheek remark for the media.”

“Such statements, of course, Edward treats as a real threat to his life because he lives a normal life and visits stores and goes outside,” Kucherena said.

 

Photo: Abode of Chaos via Flickr

President Trump boards Air Force One for his return flight home from Florida on July 31, 2020

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Florida senior residents have been reliable Republican voters for decades, but it looks like their political impact could shift in the upcoming 2020 election.

As Election Day approaches, Florida is becoming a major focal point. President Donald Trump is facing more of an uphill battle with maintaining the support of senior voters due to his handling of critical issues over the last several months. Several seniors, including some who voted for Trump in 2016, have explained why he will not receive their support in the November election.

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