Some Americans view Edward Snowden as a heroic information warrior who exposed abuses of the National Security Agency, while others say he’s a criminal responsible for putting the lives of many U.S. operatives in jeopardy.
Both sides agree his TV appearance with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin was an unmitigated PR disaster. What in the world was Snowden thinking?
Crafty Putin played naïve Snowden like a fiddle. Reeling from the image fallout, Snowden used one of his favorite outlets, UK’s Guardian, to mount a desperate defense.
He wrote his question to Putin, "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?" is the same one Oregon Senator Ron Wyden asked US director of national intelligence James Clapper last year.
The American whistleblower said the question to the unhinged Putin was intended to yield an “important concession or clear evasion.”
Really, Eddie? Putin, the former KGB spy, was going to come clean to a turncoat. The KGB has a pretty straightforward policy concerning its traitors, one that would not be music to Snowden’s ears.
Putin who repeatedly denied—prior to Russia’s land grab of Crimea—any Russian soldiers were stirring things up there. Surprise, Surprise, he now admits Russia’s troops were operating in Crimea before its annexation by the Motherland.
Putin now denies Russia’s security forces are agitating in eastern Ukraine. Guess how that’s going to turn out?
Yesterday, Putin said though authorized to invade Ukraine, he really hopes he’s “not forced to use this right.” If you believe that whopper, I can get you a sweet deal on a bridge in Brooklyn.
Somehow maintaining a straight face, Putin told Snowden: “We don’t have a mass system of such interception and according to our law it cannot exist. We do not have a wide-scale, uncontrolled effort like that in the US.”
In the real world, Russian law allows for the interception of all its people’s data including emails, faxes, phone calls and online activity.
Masterful Putin added to Snowden’s woes, calling the ex-Booz Allen contractor “a former agent, a spy.”
Compounding his PR problems, Eddie didn’t challenge that characterization. Obviously, he should ring Ketchum, Putin’s PR firm, for some media training.
Snowden no longer lives in the real world, He’s part of Putin’s world of brute force, denial, deception and betrayal.