back to article From Russia with no love: Prez Putin dubs Ed Snowden 'unwanted gift'

Russian president Vladimir Putin has described NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as an unwanted "Christmas present" from America - and hinted that the cornered geek, still hiding out in a Moscow airport, will stop leaking details about US internet surveillance programmes. Snowden is understood to be seeking political asylum in …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    He he he he

    ...and, giving the Prez of the Diposition Matrix the peace prize "hasty and ill-conceived"? Falling-down-stairs retarded while Orwell looks on, rather.

    Oh well, Kissinger got one, too.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    Snowden is living proof that it is not worthwhile being honest.

    The US are not honest with its people, they don't seem to be too worried.

    The UK are not honest with its people, they don't seem to be too worried.

    Snowden was honest, he is now "Extremely" worried......

    I can easilly imagine though that he thought that he was doing the right thing at the time ........Sheremetyevo will never be the same again....

    1. Titus Technophobe

      Got that the wrong way round .....

      The UK and US honestly admit they have Secret Intelligence agencies but not all the activities they undertake will be publicly disclosed.

      Snowden took a job (contract) with one of these agencies. At the time he would have been told that disclosing certain details of his work would be illegal (or in your terms dishonest). He went on to be 'dishonest' anyway and now unsurprisingly he is extremely worried.

      There is a better way of doing 'Whistle blowing' which is to report your concerns in the country in which they occur. Then let the judiciary sort out the rights and wrongs of your disclosure. This would be the behavior of somebody acting out of conscience.......

      I have to wonder what Ed Snowdens motives are exactly. He doesn't seem to know a heck of a lot of any value so just maybe he is doing this to become a cause célèbre for one of the countries wanting better PR for their human rights. I guess they might get the PR and he gets to live somewhere nice at somebody else's expenses.

      That said the whole plan does seem to have backfired a little for Mr Snowden.

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      2. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: Got that the wrong way round .....

        "There is a better way of doing 'Whistle blowing' which is to report your concerns in the country in which they occur."

        In theory that's what SHOULD happen. In practice, what happens is that the guys high up have their arses covered, and the guys down below are left carrying the blame. See what happened for example at Abu Ghraib - some soldiers had been reporting abuses up teh chain of command for weeks and months, without realising that it was the chain of command themselves who had authorised / approved of the torture, starting from as high up as VP Cheney. So what happened? Cheney and his buddies at the DOJ invented some legalese claptrap that basically redefined 'torture' as 'torture-called-with-a-different-name-so-we-can-say-it's-not-torture', and so far have gotten away with war crimes.

        The poor sods down below who ignorantly and blindly followed orders ended up in jail (not excusing them, they did wrong, BUT those above them ordered it and got away with it). And the other poor sods down below who raised a protest got themselves transferred to outer mongolia or equivalent.

        Snowden clearly knew this and I bet he wasn't completely enthused at being the one pointing out to his superiors that they were violating the US constitution, knowing full well that his superiors knew very well what they were doing

      3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Got that the wrong way round ..... @ Titus

        Titus, hiding behind a contract which requires you to do something illegal or immoral is a version of the Nuremberg Defence - which we know doesn't work.

        Let's put it this way: say that for some reason the local chief police officer takes out a contract, legal in form, on your life. Should the person who takes the contract just fulfil it and be able to say "Well, I was just doing what the contract said" without sanction, or would you prefer that the person perhaps notifies someone else who can do something about it, and, given the power the local police chief wields, decides the best way is to go public? Snowden is in the latter position: it wasn't clear who the best person to report it to, so he has gone public with the information that [possibly] illegal and [certainly] immoral actions have taken place.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snowden just planted a round house blow to the school yard bully, who is reeling back on his heels in bewilderment. All the other kids are looking on gasping and wondering what will happen next. They are afraid to help in fear of a pummeling, but glad someone finally did it.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      no he didnt. He called him names and ran away. The bully has him cornered and has told all his mates that if he escapes it will be bad news for them too. A few other people are making noises about helping him but they are inconsequential to the bully - their turn will come.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As much as I'd like to see things happen as the AC thinks...

        I think that Danny has a more correct analogy. Not so much calling the bully names, but 'telling' on the bully, then running away etc.

        Thing is, each of the 'friends' are more concerned about the condition of their own skin than the wrongness of the bully. If they all band together, its unlikely the bully would be able to win. I feel that willing submission is a gesture of agreement/compliance with and endorsement of the actions of the bully!

        Which is cool, I guess, if you agree with the bullys actions...

        1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: As much as I'd like to see things happen as the AC thinks...

          Using your analogy, unfortunately the bullies friends are actually involved in the bullying themselves. They enjoy tips and protections they get from the bully and they don't want to risk their benefits or being able to keep their hands clean of the dirty work the bully does for them.

          In a more real-world example of Euro-complicity in this surveillance, the U.S. got France, Spain and Portugal to close their airspace to the diplomatic conveyance (airplane) of the PRESIDENT OF A SOVEREIGN COUNTRY on the SUSPICION that said President was escorting Snowden. And a fourth country (Austria) essentially wouldn't let the President take off again until they had inspected his aircraft and party to make sure that Snowden wasn't onboard.

          In a world with more than a few international fugitives, including murderers and out-and-out stone cold killer war criminals, when was the last time you saw something like this happen? And its not a political divide thing either. Hollande is probably the most leftist president the French have had for at least 30-40 years, and he closed off French airspace to a noted fellow socialist without so much as a peep of protest.

          I'm afraid that Snowden has kicked over an international anthill, and pretty much every government in Europe wants to see him lockup away so they can go about business as usual.

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  5. Ben Holmes

    The sociology professor, who works at Umeå University, said that Snowden had made a "heroic effort at great personal cost" by revealing the existence of a shadowy US surveillance network

    It's not shadowy. It's a surveillance network. That's the whole damn point.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now the Russian premier has signalled that the ex-CIA technician may have changed his mind about leaking more sensitive American documents.

    Of course, why would Putin want anyone else to see any more of "more sensitive American documents" at it will be much more useful if Russia has "exclusive access" (or even that the US fears that Russia has access) to them.

    1. Peter Storm


      and Putin implied just that in in his statement.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm guessing Snowdon isn't rich or willing to divulge more secrets, so he is of no use to the Russians.

  8. Maty

    Thing is ...

    The story has become about Snowden, not the leaks. All the fuss about the messenger has detracted from the message.

    In the USA at present, part of the system operates via secret legislation overseen by secret courts. Anyone telling what the secret legislation has authorized faces extreme penalties, even if that legislation is constitutionally dubious.

    This is 'government by the people'? THAT'S what we should be worrying about. To some extent terrorists have already succeeded in overthrowing democracy.

    1. Arthur 1

      Re: Thing is ...

      Pretty sure the level of publicity being forced in the manhunt is no accident, and for exactly that reason. Everyone is going to be interested in the Snowden affair? Fine, have them interested in Snowden himself and the hunt for Snowden, commence sweeping the outrages he leaked under the table.

  9. h3

    Be interesting if Snowden gets asylum then Assange dumps the rest from the Ecuadorian embassy.

  10. tonysmith

    Why does not just dump it in one go and then seek asylum. I realise that dragging it out has the benefit of keeping it in the public mind but he's kind stuck at the mo.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      If they're doing the same as last time, they are themselves censoring documents to remove information liable to get spies overseas discovered and killed. I'm guessing.

      Otherwise I'm not sure why it would be dragged out, as these people's locations are all probably well enough known for President Obama to order, if he ever so chooses, that heavy weights are to be dropped on them from the Allegedly International Space Station. Probably by the robot astronaut they have up there.

      And that would put a stop to it.

      So I don't really understand this game...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DHS = Department of Homeland Surveillance....

    One of the history's most deeply divisive and unpopular presidents 'W' with close ties to Enron blessed us with :--

    1. The intrusive and oppressive Patriot (Patronising) Act

    2. DHS - Department of Homeland Security (Surveillance)....

    Then along comes the popular orator Obama.... He keeps Bush's policies and close ties to Wall Street, but he's given a Nobel....Go figure!

  12. WatAWorld

    Extradition treaties do not apply to political refugees seeking asylum

    The extradition treaties are lame excuses from world leaders who are too chicken to stand up to Obama and the NSA.

    And you can see this is about fear of the Imperial Power because even countries that do not have an extradition treaty with the USA won't offer Snowden asylum.

    Extradition treaties do not apply to political refugees seeking asylum. Pretty much every single genuine political refugee has criminal charges against him/her. Those that don't are usually economic refugees.

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  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snowden's options look limited

    At the moment, it looks like he can stay in Russia and be Putin's bitch, or he can go back to the US and be his cellmate's bitch, in a grim state pen. I've said before, it's an amazing thing that Snowden has done for us all, but perhaps now would a good time for him to be focusing on his survival, and some modicum of liberty.

    1. danbi

      Re: Snowden's options look limited

      More likely, his plane will crash on the way to the US, or his car become part of severe road incident on the way from airport, etc. These things happen naturally, don't they?

      However ironic it sounds, Snowden's best option is to agree to what Putin offered, stop telling the world what he knows and provide Putin with all this information, in exchange for his life.. at least for a while. Then expect one day to be traded with the US for whatever benefit Russia might need.

  15. Herby Silver badge


    Snowden's 15 minutes of fame are long past. All of this is getting very old!

    1. AbelSoul

      Re: Snowden's 15 minutes of fame are long past

      Except they aren't, are they?

      Otherwise you wouldn't be talking about him on here.

  16. Ted Treen

    Hardly surprising...

    Vlad won't really want to display as a hero (and example) someone who tells Joe Public what nasty illegal spying is inflicted upon them by their own government...

    ...even if it does embarrass the wicked fascist exploiters of the people...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it a bird, is it a plane... no it's the company legal department to the rescue

    Well, perhaps. Hear me out.

    You know your corporate email banner? The corporate legalese "this message is intended only for its intended recipients; if you receive it blah blah blah" that is added to the bottom of each of your out-going missives?

    Well perhaps we should all write to our HR departments asking that the following line be added:

    "This message has been intercepted and read by the Government of the United States, as will any replies."

  18. MostlyCommonSense

    Really ?

    Com'on really ?!?

    Put your hand up if you didn't already know that this was happening ?

    OK, all the americans put your hands down, you knew. I notice no one else put their hands up though.

    Snowden bleats the bleeding obvious and everyone is somehow shocked at the news ?

    Next you'll be telling me that someone will go through my bags at the airport.

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