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Bryan Preston

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April 17, 2014 - 7:41 am

So, how did this happen?

NSA leaker Edward Snowden asked Russian President Vladimir Putin about whether Russia uses its own mass surveillance system, in a video during a question-and-answer session on Russian television.

“Does Russia, intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?” Snowden asked, according to a video clip posted by Russia Today.

The question, which Snowden asked via video from an undisclosed location (not to Putin), afforded Putin the opportunity to set himself up as a greater champion of individual liberty than the American government. Putin took that opportunity and ran with it.

Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law, so how special forces can use this kind of special equipment to intercept phone calls or follow someone online, and you have to get court permission to stalk a particular person,” Putin said, according to an English translation by Russia Today.

“We don’t have a mass system of such interception and according with our law, it cannot exist,” Putin said.

However, Putin added that “criminals and terrorists” use technology and “of course” Russia’s special services have to use the same means in response.

See, Russia is just a big ol’ Teddy bear!

USA Today is asking whether Snowden was/is a foreign intelligence asset.

Western intelligence services must assume that Snowden – either on purpose or inadvertently – has leaked to the Chinese and Russian governments the totality of the information with which he fled the U.S., says Fox, adding it would be “utterly inappropriate and irresponsible” to assume that Snowden had been to those countries and they had been unable to intercept the data.

Other senior intelligence officials share the same concern over Snowden’s allegiances. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the outgoing chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, believes Snowden is likely connected with Russian spies.

“We know today no counterintelligence official in the United States does not believe that Mr. Snowden, the NSA contractor, is not under the influence of Russian intelligence services,” he said March 23 on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”He is actually supporting in an odd way this very activity of brazen brutality and expansionism of Russia. He needs to understand that. And I think Americans need to understand that. We need to put it in proper context.

After today’s public exchange with Putin, the support looks a whole lot more direct. Russian intelligence was notorious for spying on foreign journalists during the Socchi Olympics. Given Putin’s deep history with the KGB, it’s unreasonable to assume that Russia doesn’t spy on its own citizens every day.

Snowden’s last major public address came via video conference, to SXSW in Austin back in March. During that conference, he had very little to say about Russia, other than to claim that neither Russia nor China had been able to break the encryption he had put on the data he took from the US. But supposing he is telling the truth, there is no way that he can know that with certainty. The safe way to bet is that both China and Russia have what he has.

Exit question: Will the recent Pulitzers based on Snowden’s disclosures turn out, years from now, to look just as foolish as the Pulitzer bestowed on Soviet apologist Walter Duranty?

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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So, maybe Snowden is a jerk, possibly a criminal.

But, like the story about the boy who is facing charges for taping the people bullying him, let's not get distracted from the institutionalized crime that our government continues to commit against it's own citizens, lies about it, and acts shocked that we care about it.

And I don't care what party started it. It continues today, and has existed under both parties. Time for it, as well as other (re, IRS, DOJ, EPA, etc) abuses to be accounted for, and career thugs to serve some jail time.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think it's entirely reasonable to be appreciative of what Snowden revealed to us and at the same time think he's a foreign agent or been turned.

I personally think what he did was cover his own tracks. He gave us that one nugget which rightly threw us in a tizzy and we're missing what seems to be him now working with Putin.

Awesome.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
It has been clear that Snowden is a foreign agent for some time.

A better exit question is: Will the recent "libertarian" defense of this man look just as foolish as the defenses they have given of the terrorist strikes on the U.S.?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
For all of the monitoring, screening and searching that the TSA has done, there hasn't been an intercept of an actual threat. But several TSA agents have gone to jail for crimes they've committed with the power they've been given.

Same with the NSA's intercepts and providing that information to the FBI and other agencies - that information was collected without warrant. Doing so is against the law, but without criminal penalties.

I'm sick of the 'terrorist bogeyman' being used to justify government malfeasance and the loss of rights, just as I am with the "child molester bogeyman" and the "Mafia bogeyman" and the "drug dealer bogeyman", and every other overblown fear mongering rationalization.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
No one could have been prepared for the situation Snowden created for himself, even though he took an extraordinary number of precautions. The amount of information garnered coupled with the current partisanship of this administration, most of the MSM and the underlying bureaucracy should make even the left tremble in fear.
He has little choice now - he's not coming back to a hero's welcome, and would need at least as much security here as he probably gets in Russia - and our government has more reason to take him out. Russia is the only place willing to host him, and even that is contingent upon his co-operation.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Methinks this Snowden creature is not quite as smart as he thinks he is. He's simply too young to have any real Wisdom. He's being very, very skillfully used.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your side. The side of Freedom in America.

because if Snowden had not blown the whistle, all that spying on US crap would still be unknown.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly.


It's mind-boggling that people who call themselves "conservative" are pillorying this man.

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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