Okay, it’s one thing to claim that, as a matter of conscience, you absconded with classified documents to expose overreach at the NSA. It’s quite another to crawl up in Vladimir Putin’s lap and nestle your muzzle up against his nut sack. Via Gawker:
In case you can’t watch it:
“I’ve seen little public discussion of Russia’s policy of mass surveillance,” Snowden said. “So I’d like to ask you: Does Russia intercept, store, or analyze the communication of millions? And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies can justify placing societies, rather than individual subjects, under surveillance?”
Putin welcomed Snowden’s question, even recognizing him as a sort of colleague.
“Mr. Snowden, you are a former spy. I used to work for an intelligence agency,” Putin said. “We can talk one professional language.”
“First of all, our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law,” he added. “You have to get the court’s permission to stalk a person. We don’t have a mass system of interception. With our law, it cannot exist. Of course, we know criminals and terrorists use technology for their criminal acts and of course the special services have to use technical means to respond to their crimes. Of course, we do some efforts like that but we do not have mass scale effort. I hope we don’t do that. We don’t have the money or the kind of devices they have in the United States. Our special services are strictly controlled by the society and the law, and are regulated by the law.”
Well, thanks for giving Putin the opportunity to clear that up, Brave Patriot Snowden! Putin’s denials of mass surveillance on the part of his government are, unlike Mr. Clapper’s, 100% reliable, so it was a really important question to ask and can in no way be construed as abetting a dead-eyed, post-Soviet KGB revanchist’s propaganda campaign.
Look, I’m glad the NSA spying issue finally got some attention and that the president has proposed needed reforms. I’m grateful to the journalists who made the discussion impossible NOT to have, yes, even Mr. Greenwald. But if there was any doubt that Snowden himself is a fucking tool, it has been removed, at least for me.