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Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the can-we-give-you-a-ride? dept.

United States 346

An anonymous reader writes "Ex-KGB Major Boris Karpichko says that spies from Russia's SVR intelligence service, posing as diplomats in Hong Kong, convinced Snowden to fly to Moscow last June. 'It was a trick and he fell for it,' Karpichko, who reached the rank of Major as a member of the KGB's prestigious Second Directorate while specializing in counter-intelligence, told Nelson. 'Now the Russians are extracting all the intelligence he possesses.'"

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Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194209)

This now comes down to whether Snowden was a "useful idiot" or was he working for the Russians all along. The intelligence revealed in the media has done more to drive wedges between the Americans and their allies at a time when both China and Russia have taken on a more aggressive foreign policy.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 months ago | (#47194241)

Is there any evidence at all that he had contact with Russia prior to ending up there? As far as I know, there isn't.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194447)

Is there any evidence at all that he had contact with Russia prior to ending up there? As far as I know, there isn't.

Yeah. I'll admit my memory of the topic isn't perfect, but I thought it was the folks at wikileaks that that were trying to help him and suggested Russia was the safest stopover point.

Re: Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194457)

So which US government agency fabricated this theory in order to bolster anti Snowden sentiments?

Re: Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (2)

mbone (558574) | about 5 months ago | (#47194547)

A three letter one, of course.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (1, Flamebait)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 5 months ago | (#47194657)

Does it matter? One nation wants to lock him in prison until he dies, one nation will grant him freedom. Is that such a hard decision?

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194285)

> This now comes down to whether Snowden was a "useful idiot" or was he working for the Russians all along

If he had been working for them all along he:

(1) Would have gone directly to Russia
(2) Would not have given the information to reporters

Regarding Boris Karpichko (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194455)

Before we start discussing whether Mr. Snowden has been tricked by KGB or not, we need to look at what kind of fella that Boris Karpichko is

Boris Karpichko fled to Britain from Russia and sought political asylum in the 1998 - and as a "living asset" of the UK government he has to do something in return for the protection the UK government has given him

Hence, the same Boris Karpichko has made extraordinary claims throughout the years. I'll list only 2 below (and there are more but to save space I'll just list two)

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/former-kgb-agent-boris-karpichkov-2800352

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1297444/KGB-agent-Boris-Karpichkovs-claim-David-Kelly-exterminated-faces-probe.html

As you guys can see, this fella simply can't live a normal life. He just HAS TO make extraordinary claims from time to time, just to satisfy his own urge to have his name appearing on the news

Therefore, this "revelation" of Snowden being marked by KGB for 6 years and "tricked" to go to Russia is nothing more than one-more-fairy-tale from Mr. Karpichko

That is all to it - no matter how you look at it, this Karpichko fella had to get his name in the media - and he just "hitch a hike" on the "Edward Snowden bus"

Re: Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194491)

I'm sure the US government is astroturfing anti Snowden propaganda like mad. No sane citizen would actually think Snowden is a traitor or even managed to harm US interests, where "US interests" is defined as the interests of the American people and not the interests of the kleptocratic psychos who make up the ruling class.

Re: Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194617)

I'm a sane citizen and I tend to focus more on the facts and not permit myself to be blinded by hero worship. I've always wondered how groups can recruit people to be suicide bombers and then I see sheep like you who are blinded with their sense of morality and idealism and I understand.

Re: Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194669)

You can just as easy be blinded by patriotism as by idealism...

You are an perfect example I must say...

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194633)

If he was really working with Russia he wouldn't have left at all. The whole point of being a double agent is to not out yourself. Since the NSA seemed to be so incompetent to allow him to download massive amounts of classified data he could have easily passed it on the Russia without detection or needing to leave the country. He left because he did not want to be silenced and rot in prison while the NSA kept chugging along with no one else the wiser.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194333)

The intelligence revealed in the media has done more to drive wedges between the Americans and their allies at a time when both China and Russia have taken on a more aggressive foreign policy.

So then maybe the US government shouldn't have been doing things that would piss off their allies? Being a rapist, murderer, etc. also tends to drive wedges between the criminal and their friends. But that's squarely on their own head not the person who told the world they were a criminal.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (3, Interesting)

jonfr (888673) | about 5 months ago | (#47194351)

He is a "useful idiot" with a lot of information in his pocket. When they are finished with him, he is either going to be returned to the U.S or he is just going to "disappear" into the abyss.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (1)

cpghost (719344) | about 5 months ago | (#47194555)

When they are finished with him, he is either going to be returned to the U.S or he is just going to "disappear" into the abyss.

s/XOR/OR/.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194635)

They won't return him because they don't want the USA to learn what information he gave them.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194655)

with a lot of information in his pocket.

Do you or any of the other government shills have proof of this? You guys keep making this unsubstantiated claim but have yet to back it up with actual evidence.

Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (4, Insightful)

crimson tsunami (3395179) | about 5 months ago | (#47194571)

If he was working for the Russians all along, he would have simply stayed put and kept stealing secrets.
No need to flee anywhere. He also wouldn't give a fuck about the domestic spying aspect, if he wanted to drive a wedge he could have released that part anonymously while giving all the other juicy secrets to the Russians.

SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (1)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about 5 months ago | (#47194223)

His statement conflicts with Snowdwn's statement in his last interview.

Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47194227)

... yea, so Snowden still doesn't know he was tricked?

Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194375)

According to Snowden, he destroyed all the files once he successfully handed them off to Greenwald. In which case, there's no intelligence to steal except his personal knowledge.

Lest you think he didn't destroy them properly enough, he apparently gave lessons to other intelligence officials on counter measures. So he would be well versed in how to secure and destroy data.

Granted, maybe Snowden is lying. But we have no evidence of his lying. Everything he has said so far has been either corroborated by the government or met with silence. And in some cases, both; for example, he always said that he used proper whistleblowing channels, and the government said they had no knowledge of this. Then more recently the government corroborated one of the instances he claims. I think it's fair to say that the government is either not telling us what it knows, or is just incompetent.

Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194247)

Snowden has already demonstrated that he's a liar.

Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194331)

[Citation Needed]

Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194271)

Obviously one of them is incorrect.

Well that makes no sense (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 5 months ago | (#47194231)

Didn't he release all of his information? What more use would be interrogating him?

I see some possibilities here:

1. He did not actually release everything he had.
2. Why would Russia release this information? What do they have to gain from saying this?

3. Bunch of bullshit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194289)

FTA, this is coming from an Ex-KGB man who "fled" Moscow.

I'm too lazy to go to my kitchen and create myself a nice tinfoil hat, but I'd throw these possibilities out there:

- Guy with little current knowledge is looking for fifteen minutes of fame.

- Guy who "fled" Moscow found an opportunity to increase visibility and thus safety. You generally don't want to polonium up people who are being discussed in the media.

Re:3. Bunch of bullshit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194403)

tl;dr KGB defector who happens to be toeing a convenient pro-US government line. Evidence: none.

Misinformation from an intelligence agent? it's part of the job description.

Re:Well that makes no sense (1)

Kkloe (2751395) | about 5 months ago | (#47194303)

systeminfo and logininfo, even if most likely all logininfo is invalid, how system works and are connected to other system/internet is quite valuable to know

Re:Well that makes no sense (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 months ago | (#47194347)

There's probably a significant amount of internal operational knowledge that Snowden has which isn't in the documents he has released, as well as knowledge of other employees, seniors etc which would be interesting to foreign intelligence agencies for various reasons.

Think of it as the operational equivalent of traffic analysis - you can gain some insights into the NSA while not having any access to information about projects etc.

Re:Well that makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194443)

no he didn't release all of his information, he has stated so himself.

Re:Well that makes no sense (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#47194623)

Why would Russia release this information?

It's not "Russia" but a US resident who used to work in USSR intelligence, so it's a guess that needs to be taken with a bucketful of salt. It may be true in a stopped clock being right twice a day way but it's an opinion shouldn't be trusted without hearing from another source a bit closer to the action who may be able to offer something other than an opinion.

"The Russians are extracting all the intelligence" (4, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | about 5 months ago | (#47194237)

If the Americans had any intelligence and sincerity, Snowden would not have had any reason to flee in the first place.

Re:"The Russians are extracting all the intelligen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194249)

If Americans have any intelligence and sincerity, a polonium tipped needle is in Snowden's future.

Re:"The Russians are extracting all the intelligen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194565)

How much are you getting now, like $0.25 per post? Last I checked it was around 17 cents, but I'm sure with all the sentiment against the policies of the last few administrations, they'd have to be getting up there by now. Keep up the good work! $1.00 a post may be in your future!

Re:"The Russians are extracting all the intelligen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194527)

Freedom , Liberty ®, Democracy: patent pending.

Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194239)

Let's incriminate wnowden even more, shall we? A supposedly reputable source does not equate to fact.

Plot Twist (4, Funny)

cdrudge (68377) | about 5 months ago | (#47194243)

Here's where the plot twist falls into play: Snowden is still working for the NSA but is feeding Russia misinformation. It's all a very elaborate scheme to trick our old adversaries. While the price to pull it off was high with releasing top secret information, it wasn't exactly anything that everyone didn't know or think was happening.

Re:Plot Twist (1)

Exitar (809068) | about 5 months ago | (#47194321)

Even better:
Snowden isn't working for the NSA, but the NSA let him get wrong informations and managed to have him flee to Russia to feed them misinformation.

Re:Plot Twist (2)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 5 months ago | (#47194471)

Actually Russian agents within the NSA are leaking real information through what the rest of the NSA believes is false information ans Snowden is involved in this operation playing along with the game, letting the NSA believe the intended plan was to defecting to Russia and feed the Russians false information...

Re:Plot Twist (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47194615)

Actually Russian agents within the NSA are leaking real information through what the rest of the NSA believes is false information ans Snowden is involved in this operation playing along with the game, letting the NSA believe the intended plan was to defecting to Russia and feed the Russians false information...

Yes, they were (indirectly, of course) placed there by American operatives who have infiltrated the highest levels of Russian government.

Re:Plot Twist (1)

Cassini2 (956052) | about 5 months ago | (#47194341)

What kind of intelligence agency traps an agent in Moscow?

It is possible Snowden is working for the CIA. Either the American's are really dumb, trapping him in Moscow, or they are smart and deliberate.

Re:Plot Twist (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#47194643)

He made a fool of powerful "Horse Judges" promoted seven levels above their competence where they were caught out doing "a heck of a job", so he's been trapped in Moscow out of spite.

Re:Plot Twist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194363)

with releasing top secret information

Decade-old top secret information, at that. The "oh noes tor is bad" presentation was from something like '06. Since then the US has become the omnipresent network watcher that tor's developers warned about thanks to PRISM. You can bet that every packet on tor is logged and traced from its source to its destination and back.

Re:Plot Twist (2)

dcmcilrath (2859893) | about 5 months ago | (#47194385)

Hold on! I have M. Night Shyamalan on the phone, he thinks we can get Daniel Craig to play Snowden, and Will Smith to play Obama. With some luck we can get the extremely Russian [imdb.com] Sean Connery to play Vladimir Putin.

Re:Plot Twist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194545)

I vote for Yakov Smirnoff to play Putin.

Propaganda (2)

watermark (913726) | about 5 months ago | (#47194253)

Just more propaganda and doubt to bring into the mix

Re:Propaganda (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 5 months ago | (#47194297)

They (the propagandists) are trying to shift the blame from Snowden to Russia.

More speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194265)

More speculation from people who have no fucking clue of what is actually going on...

Still in the news? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194267)

Damn, this was at least a year ago. Drop it already.

All governments are spying on you. In the words of Joe Biden, "big fucking deal".

Re:Still in the news? (2, Insightful)

jeIlomizer (3670951) | about 5 months ago | (#47194453)

Agreed. People should just stop caring about whether the government does anything illegal or violates people's individual liberties. Who needs freedom and privacy, anyway?

Re:Still in the news? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47194667)

Yeah, but usually they reserve the spying for other governments and their secrets. Not the privacy of their own people.

Say, wasn't that what we said the Russians are doing?

Sorta plausible (5, Interesting)

sasparillascott (1267058) | about 5 months ago | (#47194279)

The only fly in the ointment of this possiblity, is that it was the Obama Administration that suspended Snowden's passport on his flight to South America that connected through Moscow (while in flight from Hong Kong to Moscow), stranding him in Russia (obviously with intent to politically smear him - which has worked with alot of not informed people).

The shortsighted political decisions of the Obama Administration to do this (locking someone like Snowden in the home of the former KGB) for political gain seems like one of the premier examples of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Obviously the Obama Administration made the political calculation (up at the executive level) that it was worth stranding someone with all his knowledge there. Seems ridiculously shortsighted.

Re:Sorta plausible (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194483)

There is the report, though, that the State Department suspended the passport before the flight and was surprised that Snowden was still able to fly out of Hong Kong. The Russians may have made his flight happen, valid passport or not.

Snowden is an idiot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194293)

This shouldn't be news to anyone.

Breaking News: US Gov. shoots itself in the foot (5, Interesting)

Joel Cahoon (2906501) | about 5 months ago | (#47194295)

One more reason why whistle-blowers like Snowden should be protected, rather than demonized. If this is true, then his fear of repercussions is the key factor that allowed Russia this opportunity in the first place. Even if it isn't true, it's a scenario Americans should be concerned about, because it's highly plausible.

Re:Breaking News: US Gov. shoots itself in the foo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194395)

Exactly. For the sake of national security, the US has to give medals to whistleblowers instead of jail time.

Re:Breaking News: US Gov. shoots itself in the foo (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194415)

What do you expect with people like this in charge?

“More importantly, much more importantly, what he’s done is hurt his country,” he said. “What he’s done is expose, for terrorists, a lot of mechanisms which now affect operational security of those terrorists and make it harder for the United States to break up plots, harder to protect our nation.”
- Sen. John Kerry on Edward Snowden

“I just think that’s a lot of baloney because, to whatever degree it may be true, they will wind up putting themselves at the mercy of those people who are very effective (at) who are there, who will deal with those guys,”
- Sen. John Kerry on dangerousness of Taliban detainees

Let's get this straight: direct release of enemy combatants...ok, release of documents related to collecting phone records of every american...not ok. Political astroturfing...priceless.

""The American people want to trust in our government again – we just need a government that will trust in us. And making government accountable to the people isn't just a cause of this campaign – it's been a cause of my life for two decades."
- President Obama on protecting whistleblowers

Remember this quote, remember what he promised? I guess we missed the footnote: "except in cases where I lose political powers...".

Why do we forget so easily?

Extracting all the intelligence (5, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 months ago | (#47194301)

'Now the Russians are extracting all the intelligence he possesses.'

Sounds like a good reason to not criminalize whistleblowers. If he had felt safe in the US, he wouldn't have been tricked into going to Moscow.

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (4, Insightful)

MikeMo (521697) | about 5 months ago | (#47194345)

If Snowden is a "whistleblower", why did he release so much material about things the NSA does which are not illegal? Why did he release info about capabilities which are clearly under the NSA purview and in the national interest?

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (1, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about 5 months ago | (#47194459)

If Snowden is a "whistleblower", why did he release so much material about things the NSA does which are not illegal?

So what are you insinuating here? That because he released non-ilegal things that Snowden was not a whistle blower? And therefore he should be prosecuted?

That line of thinking smells a lot like a logical fallacy.

And anyway, did Snowden release the documents himself, or was it the journalists that he passed them on to?

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194577)

So what are you insinuating here?

Simple - that his real intentions are obvious. Snowden is a fame seeking egomaniac, just watch his interviews. I've never seen someone so in love with himself. He made almost zero attempt to blow the whistle without going public and did irreparable damage to the US intelligence apparatus.

Everyone seems to remember he was fired from his job with the CIA for attempting to access documents he shouldn't have. He's been fishing for top secret intelligence for years because he knows it's his ticket to stardom and a big payday on a book deal, if not a movie.

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (2)

jeIlomizer (3670951) | about 5 months ago | (#47194627)

He made almost zero attempt to blow the whistle without going public

And you made almost zero attempt to find out why he went public.

and did irreparable damage to the US intelligence apparatus.

As an American, I hope so. The US intelligence apparatus acts in immoral and unconstitutional ways. But I don't think it'll be damaged so easily.

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194515)

and against the constitution....

but that does not matter, because you don't have rights if you are not American

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194523)

Because some of us hoped they still respected the 4th amendment. Nope.

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (1, Insightful)

fey000 (1374173) | about 5 months ago | (#47194563)

If Snowden is a "whistleblower", why did he release so much material about things the NSA does which are not illegal? Why did he release info about capabilities which are clearly under the NSA purview and in the national interest?

Nothing the NSA did was "illegal", since they are a part of the government. This can also be seen in that no one has been arrested for what amounts to systematically breaking the constitutional rights of the american citizen.
Their actions are however highly immoral and reprehensible, which is the reason that Snowden wanted to inform the public. This because he values right over might.

Does that answer your question?

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194579)

If Snowden is a "whistleblower", why did he release so much material about things the NSA does which are not illegal?

The same line was tried against Ellsberg leaking the Pentagon Papers as well. It was nonsense then and it's nonsense now.

Why did he release info about capabilities which are clearly under the NSA purview and in the national interest?

Because he felt the world had a right to now. No different than any other whistleblower.

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (5, Informative)

mellon (7048) | about 5 months ago | (#47194597)

Whistleblowers don't just release things that are illegal. Lots of really evil behavior is "legal". That doesn't mean it's right, or that people will support it when they find out about it. Need I remind you about the FISA Amendments Act of 2008? That made lots of exciting things legal...

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (2)

bsolar (1176767) | about 5 months ago | (#47194629)

Some practices are technically legal, but it doesn't mean they should. In some cases the laws are simply lacking and new ones should be defined (especially true in technology). It might also be that some practices are technically legal through loopholes which allow you to do something legally in the letter of the law even if against the spirit. In other cases the laws are actually made with the required loopholes, a blatant example defining some practices which are clearly torture as not being torture to be able to "legally" employ them.

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194641)

did you as a citizen agree that it was in national interest? because i didnt agree to agencies conducting economic spying on other countries nor do i agree that it is in "national interest"

in the information age trust is the new currency and we just gave away all of it for something that never should have happened in the first place

please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194651)

If Snowden is a "whistleblower", why did he release so much material about things the NSA does which are not illegal? Why did he release info about capabilities which are clearly under the NSA purview and in the national interest?

If the NSA is a "government organization bound by law", why did they spy on Americans in direct contradiction to the US Constitution? Why did they go to such great lengths to hide their activities from the US population, lie to Congress, and in general direct their focus on the exact group they have the least reason to focus on?

Right, perhaps just because the NSA does some good things doesn't mean it isn't doing a lot of bad things. And given that no one in the NSA is going to be punished for all their clear malfeasance, which is of a much higher magnitude than anything Snowden did--espionage isn't even a spelled out consideration* in the US Constitution while warrantless spy is and honestly the act of spying on people is much worse than informing people who otherwise shouldn't know the how, what, and when of being spied on--, over some apparent "pragmatic" reasoning, it'd seem that an equally "pragmatic" view should seek to not punish "whistleblower[s]"** when it could lead to information leaking that could compromise future spying operations.

Really, given how any idea of justice or right and wrong have gone out the window long ago when it comes to the US's international actions*** and has all boiled down to some pragmatic "everyone else does it and it's not spelled out as illegal in the Constitution", trying to look more deeply into the motives, actions, etc of one person who did engage in whistleblowing at some level to sidestep the pragmatic implications of threats against revealing malfeasance of the sort demonstrated is laughable at best. All your statement has any merit to is a debate on how much of a real hero Snowden is. Well, yea, Snowden like most other figures in history is much less of a clean-cut hero than generally lauded.

*It's rather hard to call what Snowden did as Treason given that a large part of what Snowden did was spell out what the NSA was doing to allies, not enemies. One could argue that they may turn out to be potential enemies in the future and there's a real need for precautionary intelligence, but that argument falls flat when you consider how much real military hardware we sell to allies or even not-enemies-right-now-but-likely-to-be-in-a-few-years with some of those purchases subsidies by US aid. Really, in a physical sense the US government has engaged in much more figurative treason than anyone.

**Two wrongs don't make a right, but then we're talking about the pragmatic point of what to do. If we gave a fuck about right and wrong, the NSA would have been already had many key figures arrested already, Bush and Obama would already be in jail for malfeasance, plenty of the last dozen administrations would be in jail for malfeasance, racketeering, etc.

***Not to mention the US's treatment of corporations which is established on the idea that to disrupt a corporation by actually jailing a guilty CEO would be so catastrophic to the economy that it's virtually unthinkable and only monetary payouts are an acceptable punishment. The same mentality seems to pervade the US government as well, although there a payout would be pointless--the government to itself with a budget deficit caused by such a thing being papered over with a larger budget to compensate next term. But once you get down to "the little PERSON", well, you can literally jail a PERSON and it becomes clearly sensical to speak of a PERSON in terms of motive, action, etc. So, ignoring that Gen. Alexander is a PERSON or that he set himself as responsible for and accountable for what the NSA does regardless of whether he personally approved every action when it's clear he did personally approve the general scope of those actions...

PS - Yes, all this does seem to be focused on deflecting upon addressing Snowden's potential bad acts. This comes primarily to the point of what justice is. We as Americans have tolerated great injustice on the part of the NSA, CIA, etc for generations in the name of some more pragmatic national interest purpose. When some one comes forth and spells out clearly with good evidence of such activities, we don't seek to finally take a step back from pragmatism for a second and seek justice for these crimes but instead wish to focus on the justice of punishing the messenger. I say this clearly: to seek to punish a thief while ignoring a serial rapist is no justice.

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194373)

yeah, because you should be able to release everything about national defense out to the public and your nation's enemies with no fear of jailtime

Re:Extracting all the intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194605)

Everything, cool. Where is the torrent that I can download the nuclear codes from?

A "trick"? Seriously? (5, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | about 5 months ago | (#47194313)

I'm not sure it's possible to "trick" somebody who fled the U.S. to hang out with the Peace and Freedom Loving Peoples of the PRC. Unless Snowden is a completely gullible idiot, it's beyond ludicrous to think he didn't know that months of intelligence extraction awaited him after a flight to Russia.

Frankly, I don't understand the guy. There are plenty of better options that would have been available to him; I still can't figure why he chose the PRC as a first stop. Once he got stuck there, his options were between slim and none.

Re:A "trick"? Seriously? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194393)

There are plenty of better options that would have been available to him

Erm... it's like people didn't pay attention at all. Governments forced planes to land on the mere suspicion that Snowden might've been riding on them. Multiple countries denied his requests for asylum. Flying around a lot would have endangered him even further.

Re:A "trick"? Seriously? (1, Informative)

Noryungi (70322) | about 5 months ago | (#47194479)

He was in Hong Kong, not in the "PRC". Document yourself instead of spouting nonsense.

And he knew the FSB was going to be interested in him, he was just hoping to leave Russia ASAP to go to South America. The Obama administration revoked his passport, stranding him in Russia. Furthermore, I believe that most of what Snowden gave to Greenwald, the FSB/Russian intelligence knew already: NSA, like many other US agencies have had its share of moles [edwardjayepstein.com] .

Whether or not Russia tricked him is irrelevant (3, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 5 months ago | (#47194329)

If Snowden hadn't been treated like a traitor by his country, he wouldn't've had to flee in the first place. Uncle Sam only have himself to blame if snowden is spilling the beans in Russia.

Your understanding of the event sequence is wrong (4, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 5 months ago | (#47194489)

If Snowden hadn't been treated like a traitor by his country, he wouldn't've had to flee in the first place. Uncle Sam only have himself to blame if snowden is spilling the beans in Russia.

You don't understand the event sequence, so you are wrong. It went like this.
1) Snowden steals a bunch of documents in secret. He flies to Hong Kong. At this point, nobody knows anything about him or what he has done except Snowden himself.
2) While in Hong Kong, Snowden gives a bunch of documents to various members of the press and holds a press conference to announce what he has done and to point out that he "had" to do it because it was the only way to let the American people know the truth.
3) The US government wakes up and realizes it has a really big problem on its hands. It's only now that the "traitor" charges begin and the US leans on China to send him back, instead prompting China to turn a blind eye as Russia agrees to make this its problem and headache to deal with. This gets China off the hook, although the Chinese have surely previously copied Snowden's stuff and possibly reached a deal with the USSR, cough cough, I mean Russia to share with each other what they find out.

Re:Your understanding of the event sequence is wro (1)

mellon (7048) | about 5 months ago | (#47194631)

According to Snowden, he didn't have "stuff" to copy. So unless China has developed brain download technology, there's no copy to discuss. I guess Snowdon could have been lying about that, but what would be the point?

Re:Whether or not Russia tricked him is irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194663)

He didn't *have* to flee, he could released docs, turned himself in to local police (i.e. not spies) and started citing his 5th amendment right against self-incrimination, served some prison time, and been granted a pardon by some future president if the American people agreed with his outrage as forcefully as he believed they would. Would it suck? Yeah! So would having to flee your home and live in an autocracy with ulterior motives.

nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194335)

Let's incriminate snowden even more, shall we? Information obtained from a supposedly reputable source does not equate to fact. The only purpose of this is to assassinate his character.

Is this for real? (1)

djhaskin987 (2147470) | about 5 months ago | (#47194355)

I just can't believe a Russian military officer would just come out and say that they're milking Snowden. I don't doubt they are; just that Russia would want to brag about it.

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194389)

Intelligence gathers YOU!

News Release (0)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about 5 months ago | (#47194411)

"Karpichko Information Services are proud to announce that we have won a high-profile contract worth a six-figure sum from a US client. The client, a low-profile multinational data-gathering business, wishes to discredit certain information sources and shift the blame for their own loss of control of the situation. Our operative, ex-KGB Major Boris Karpichko, enjoys a well-earned international reputation in the disinformation field, and has recently graduated summa cum laude from the IBM Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt School."

to say its trickery is wrong. (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 months ago | (#47194421)

Saying it was a trick flagrantly ignores the fact that the vast majority of more than 75 nations would openly and gladly transfer snowden to the United States. As a nation all we'd have to do is threaten to withhold/offer to increase aid to the target nation and in turn theyd cough him up post-haste. this doesnt account for the numerous countries with dictatorial governments favorable to our interests in which we could simply just ask.
Russia is one of a handful of successful foreign nations with the power, both economically and militarily to resist whatever the US asks for. Sending cia agents to him for rendition is a suicide mission, both militarily and politically. We are beholden to 5% of our oil supply from Russia, and the last time we offered an economic incentive was when we bought up a few hundred nuclear missiles from them and converted the payload to nuclear fuel in the 80's so we arent exactly an economic juggernaut in their world.

snowden was smart to take the Russian offer. He was going to expose clandestine secrets about the United States government that fly in the face of the constitution and our rule of law, and Russia saw nothing but gain from his efforts. finally, after 50 years of chest thumping freedom and swinging-dick foreign policy, a piping hot dish of humble pie had been prepared to which America would reluctantly have to at least take a bite and say, "Politically we're no less reprehensible than any other nation. we just have better propaganda."

Re:to say its trickery is wrong. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194601)

Russia didn't make an "offer". He was stranded in the Moscow international airport. Unlike most nations, Russia pretends that its airport is international territory. That allows them to ignore asylum requests which it would otherwise have to hear under international law.

There are lots of other people stuck in the Moscow airport, but they all have valid passports, so eventually they run out of money or get tired and move on to another country. Snowden, however, no longer had a passport. That means he was stuck in the airport in perpetuity--he sure as heck wasn't going to fly back to the U.S. So Russia granted him a visa. There was no offer, because there was no quid pro quo. Russia just wanted to score some f-you points on the international state.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is another airport that is international territory. Unlike most countries (the U.S., U.K., etc) when you're in the Charles de Gaulle transit zone you have no automatic right to due process proceedings. Again, the point is to allow the government to ignore asylum seekers, notwithstanding their international treaty obligations.

did he have much choice? (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 5 months ago | (#47194423)

I don't think "trick" applies here. Snowden went to Russia only after pretty much all other options had been closed off by the Obama administration. If instead of going batshit insane on Snowden, the administration had quietly tolerated (or even encouraged) asylum in some small South American nation, the Russians wouldn't have him and the US secret service could keep an eye on him.

Re:did he have much choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194539)

Snowden was only flying through Russia to get somewhere else. It was the US government that prevented him from leaving.

It is only a trick if... (1)

redback (15527) | about 5 months ago | (#47194431)

..they promised him something then refused to provide that something.

They may have convinced him to go there with nefarious motives, but that's not necessarily a 'trick'

Re:It is only a trick if... (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 5 months ago | (#47194603)

He thought it was just a stopover on the way to South America. I don't think the russians were the ones preventing him from continuing onwards though. If you'll recall the US was having planes from Moscow to South America diverted so they could be searched. It was a proud fucking moment.

Nice opinion piece... (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 5 months ago | (#47194473)

I didn't know opinion passed for news these days....

If I know more than Snowden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194475)

Can I get a Job? My governent doesn't pay me shit!

If the russians were smart, why don't they make an example of Snowden by paying him lots of money and rewarding him for coming in from the warm instead of bragging about how they tricked him?

Long-ago defected KGB spies hunted by Russia (1)

KramberryKoncerto (2552046) | about 5 months ago | (#47194485)

Boris Karpichko: [theguardian.com]

Boris Karpichkov worked as a KGB agent in the 1980s before fleeing to Britain as a place of safety. He talks about his career, why Russian spies are again targeting Britain – and why he'll never stop looking over his shoulder ... Karpichkov, it turns out, knows a huge amount: about Russia's murky arms sales abroad, for example. He is intelligent, and a first-class analyst – but, of course, he has no one to report to. Karpichkov says he is "no way scared". But he confesses he is now "dead tired" of the exhausting world of espionage, and concerned for the safety of his wife and grownup children.

Oleg Kalugin: [wikipedia.org]

With the return to power of elements of the KGB, most notably Vladimir Putin, Kalugin was again accused of treason. In 2002 he was put on trial in absentia in Moscow and found guilty of spying for the West.[3] He was sentenced to fifteen years in jail,[6] in a verdict he described as "Soviet justice, which is really triumphant today".[7] The US and Russia have no extradition treaty.[7] Kalugin currently works for the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI CENTRE) is a member of the advisory board for the International Spy Museum.[8] He remains a critic of Vladimir Putin, a former subordinate, whom he called a "war criminal" over his conduct of the Second Chechen War.[3][9]

Re:Long-ago defected KGB spies hunted by Russia (1)

wytcld (179112) | about 5 months ago | (#47194567)

So Boris, who depends on Western intelligence services to avoid being assassinated, as other Russian spies who fled to Britain have been, says what his protectors want him to. Business Insider is just plain stupid to publish this.

On the other hand... (1)

bluegutang (2814641) | about 5 months ago | (#47194543)

Snowden asserts that he brought no classified files with him when he left the US.

And Russian intelligence has good reasons for spreading a story like this, even if it's false. It makes Russia look smart and the US look stupid. And it will likely the US to abandon a variety of intelligence assets for fear that they are compromised.

I don't think we have any way of knowing who to believe.

Too convenient... (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 5 months ago | (#47194549)

A story like this is the U.S. government's wet dream. This is highly suspicious.

If Snowden had any information left (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 5 months ago | (#47194587)

under his control to disseminate, he would have been dead by now.

Russia doesn't need Snowden to spy on the NSA (1)

cpghost (719344) | about 5 months ago | (#47194589)

How can anybody be so naive as to think that NSA isn't already crawling with Russian spies? Everything NSA knows, its Russian counterpart knows nearly at the same time. It doesn't take a Snowden to achieve that. Remember: Russians have a long tradition of building up sleeper and secret agents in foreign targets, and they are renowned for their patience and the time they take in placing those agents in high positions.

According to Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47194609)

he gave the documents to the reporters in Hong Kong. I don't know why anyone should trust someone who makes claims based on hearsay (more likely tall tales). If you look up this guys name on google he has made many other unverifiable claims that the media eats up.

only a trick if the truth makes a difference (1)

dominux (731134) | about 5 months ago | (#47194661)

"Hello Edward, I am a Russian diplomat, come to Moscow and we won't extradite you to the Americans"

"Hello Edward, I am a Russian spy, come to Moscow and we won't extradite you to the Americans"

I can't imagine Snowden was under any illusions about the job title of the "diplomats" he was talking to, so it wasn't much of a trick. It might not have been a particularly good long term deal, but there wasn't a whole lot else on the table.

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