From the lips of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the rest of the world, particularity the United States, Edward Snowden must stop “damaging our American partners.” That was the underlying tone in a recent statement that Putin made to the press relating to elements of rogue ex-NSA contractor, Snowden, who might be seeking asylum in Russia after the US State Department revoked his passport, trapping him, purportedly, in a Moscow airport.
While the fate of Snowden – namely whether or not other countries will offer asylum considering the international fiasco that has ensued – is unclear, it’s starkly reminiscent of that of infamous leaker Julian Assange, the founder of the now nefarious Wiki Leaks, who is holed up in an Ecuadorean embassy in London. Now, it seems, that Snowden could suffer a similar fate should Russia not be so inclined to offer asylum, as they are so demonstrating at the moment.
According to Putin, few nations are interested in the international pressure and debacle that would be tantamount to offering asylum to the rogue whistle blower.
“If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that,” Putin said in a recent statement to the press. “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips.”
But Snowden is in no hurry to cease his damaging leaks of high level classified information that relates to NSA policy. Apparently, Putin, in a measure reticent of his KGB Cold War era heydays, is profoundly bound by the clandestine services pledge: You don’t leak classified information about the spy network that employed you to anyone.
“Just because he feels that he is a human rights defender, rights activist, he doesn’t seem to have an intention to stop such work,” Putin said of Snowden’s pursuit in leaking classified documents to the international community.
New information that has just recently been leaked resulted in scathing reactions from numerous EU nations, after having been apprised that many of their diplomatic cables, embassy offices, emails, internet communications and telephone calls had been recorded or intercepted illegally by the NSA. The results of which have heralded wide rebuke from the international community regarding the US spying policies abroad on friendly nations.
“We cannot accept this kind of behavior from partners and allies,” French President Francois Hollande said on French television on Monday.
Germany was outspoken about their opinion regarding the matter, too, stating this week that, “Eavesdropping on friends is unacceptable,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin. “We’re not in the Cold War anymore.”
As the Obama administration races to quell the fanning flames, it’s finding itself in quite the precarious indisposition regarding international affairs, ally relations and citizen controversy regarding what is, quite possibly, the largest leak of intelligence in US history.