Just when Edward Snowden had been recast as a whistle blower instead of a traitor who divulged US spying, he takes a step backwards.
It is highly unlikely that Snowden knew he would be walking into a rhetorical trap when he agreed to call in a question during a q-and-a by President Vladimir Putin.
Now he is hotter than a Chernobyl tomato.
The former KGB agent acted as if they were compadres when Snowden asked if Russia allows indiscriminate spying such as that done by the NSA on most Americans and many world leaders.
“Out intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law. You have to get a court’s permission first,” said Putin, in the equivalent of the check-is-in-the-mail answer.
But then neither Putin nor Snowden was ever James Bond, or even an active operate. Putin shuffled papers in Dresden. Snowden was a contract employee for the NSA.
A week ago Snowden, who took Putin’s offer of asylum up when it became clear the US would stop him from going anywhere else, was basking in the limelight. Journalist Glenn Greenwald, formerly of the Guardian, had shared a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service with the Washington Post.
It is journalism’s highest honor. The Post won it for Watergate, which forced the resignation of the late President Richard Nixon, and was fodder for a pretty good movie, “All the President’s Men.”
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who won for Watergate, didn’t evade the results of their work by going to Russia. In those days it would have been the equivalent of Jane Fonda going to Hanoi during the Vietnam War.
And if Snowden had just waited a few days the dust might have settled in the Ukraine. Now at best he looks the fool or a clown, at worst a traitor.
Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post said, “Edward Snowden has just officially made himself into a Russian propaganda tool.”
It didn’t take a Tweet from the US Embassy in Moscow for people to know that Putin was being disingenuous at best.
In 2009, Russian law was changed to give authorities carte blanche to spy on any citizen, the Daily Telegraph reported.
One thing Putin said that was true, and it clear he was jealous, the US has many more resources to spy on anyone than the Kremlin will ever have or even had during the Soviet Days.