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Snowden to Critics: Questioning Putin Has Opened Conversation About Surveillance

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the withdrawing-the-earlier-dept-line dept.

Government 168

The Guardian carries Edward Snowden's detailed rebuttal to critics who say that his recent live-TV interaction with Vladimir Putin, in which Snowden asked whether the Russian government was engaged in spying on Russian citizens' communications, was a scripted moment intended to curry or maintain favor with Putin. After all, Snowden is currently living in Russia, where he has been granted only temporary harbor, goes this argument, so he is at the mercy of the Russian government, and has just gamely thrown Putin a softball. (Slashdot reader Rambo Tribble said the exchange had a "canned quality," a sentiment widely echoed.) Snowden writes that, far from being a whitewash of actual policies by the Russian government, his question ("Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals' communications?") "was intended to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion"; he decribes Putin's answer as a combination of inconsistent denial and evasion. Snowden writes: "I blew the whistle on the NSA's surveillance practices not because I believed that the United States was uniquely at fault, but because I believe that mass surveillance of innocents – the construction of enormous, state-run surveillance time machines that can turn back the clock on the most intimate details of our lives – is a threat to all people, everywhere, no matter who runs them. Last year, I risked family, life, and freedom to help initiate a global debate that even Obama himself conceded 'will make our nation stronger.' I am no more willing to trade my principles for privilege today than I was then. I understand the concerns of critics, but there is a more obvious explanation for my question than a secret desire to defend the kind of policies I sacrificed a comfortable life to challenge: if we are to test the truth of officials' claims, we must first give them an opportunity to make those claims."

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Meh (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804223)

He has to suck Putin's dick for his safe harbor in Russia. Thats just the way it is.

Dumbass (5, Insightful)

ZouPrime (460611) | about 5 months ago | (#46804253)

It's Russia, you twit! How can there be a Russian conversation about domestic surveillance when they have trouble having political opposition, let alone a free press! The Russian Federation is 148th in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders World free press index, and here you are, talking about how you asked a tough question to a leader who doesn't give a shit about looking hypocritical or lying, and has been using you for the last 10 months to discredit the West while he goes forward with his project of grand russian unification.

Re:Dumbass (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 5 months ago | (#46804275)

I wish I knew Snowden's address so I could send him a shirt that says "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!"

Re:Dumbass (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#46804301)

"We're truly concerned with the surveillance efforts of our Government, it's a pressing priority." - Said no Russian homosexual ever

Re:Dumbass (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46806469)

The funny thing about americans (I guess you are one, as the majority of Slashdot's readers), is that they really think that they are in a position to judge on someone else's democracy standards. You still haven't realized how bad your international image is, especially after Iraq, the subprime crisis, and finally the NSA scandal. I'm norwegian and I don't really see why I should have a better opinion on Obama/Bush than on Putin, nor why I should feel any freer if I were in NY rather than Moscow. Actually I would probably be LESS controlled in the russian capital, because they cannot spend so much money in IT surveillance.

Dear americans, why don't you simply mind your own fu**ing business for the rest of the millennium? It would really improve the reputation of your country worldwide.

As for Snowden, I really hope he hasn't put his asylum's renewal at risk by writing the op-ed on The Guardian. He's a Hero of Mankind, and it's shameful that his own people laugh at him for revealing how corrupt their government is. I guess that sheeple like to be spied on. Americans really don't deserve him.

Re:Dumbass (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804339)

The only way there can be such a conversation is if people try to start it.
If you have a better idea, feel free to go to Russia and try out your idea.
Frankly, I don't think you are even one tenth as brave as Snowden who has now deliberately and explicitly "bit the hand that feeds him" in public.

Re:Dumbass (1, Interesting)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 5 months ago | (#46804373)

So Snowden has not lived up to your expectations of him? Meanwhile, what have you done?

Instead of sneering from you perch, get involved yourself.

Re:Dumbass (2, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 5 months ago | (#46804429)

Instead of sneering from you perch, get involved yourself.

But he *IS* involved !

He is working on the side of NSA in making sure Snowden's life will be hell, no matter where Snowden lives.

Re:Dumbass (1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 5 months ago | (#46804525)

That kind of crappy comment gets old. Can you engage on this topic without personal smears?

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804911)

And the 2014 Irony Award goes to... cold fjord!

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804995)

Because the only way to discuss Snowden and the NSA is to fling handfuls of crap at each other instead of the facts? Snowden's actions are the point of discussion, not the commenters. The irony eludes you.

Re:Dumbass (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | about 5 months ago | (#46804611)

Imagine for a minute, an associate of Alan Turing [wikipedia.org] escaping Bletchely Park [wikipedia.org] in 1944 with files recording the facility's activity — and with details of its capability to decrypt Enigma [wikipedia.org] traffic.

He is outraged about the government's attempts — often successful [wikipedia.org] — to intercept other people messages (some intercepts leading to deaths of hundreds) and is smart enough to envision the future, where such ungentlemanly conduct will become common place. And so he goes public with the materials he took with him, holding a press-conference somewhere — say, in Switzerland.

Because none of the UK allies will have him, and he fears the Allies' long hand in neutral Switzerland, he takes refuge in Germany, where he is promptly drained of all the information he carries (in files and head)? Germans modify their encryption practices and Bletchley Park is no longer able to decode the communications.

Should the man's life not be hell after that? Or should he simply be hung for treason?

Speechless ... (0, Redundant)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 5 months ago | (#46804685)

We are talking about Snowden, a person who spilled the beans of the tyrannical secret program of a supposedly democratic country and thus, helped hundreds of millions (if not billions) to aware of the evil surveillance program that had trespassed on their privacy and this guy ...

I'm speechless !!

Imagine for a minute, an associate of Alan Turing escaping Bletchely Park in 1944 with files recording the facility's activity â" and with details of its capability to decrypt Enigma traffic.

He is outraged about the government's attempts â" often successful â" to intercept other people messages (some intercepts leading to deaths of hundreds) and is smart enough to envision the future, where such ungentlemanly conduct will become common place. And so he goes public with the materials he took with him, holding a press-conference somewhere â" say, in Switzerland.

Because none of the UK allies will have him, and he fears the Allies' long hand in neutral Switzerland, he takes refuge in Germany, where he is promptly drained of all the information he carries (in files and head)? Germans modify their encryption practices and Bletchley Park is no longer able to decode the communications.

Should the man's life not be hell after that? Or should he simply be hung for treason?

Re:Speechless ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804827)

Yes. It was so tyrannical that it was voted in democratically with the support of the vast majority of Americans 13 years ago. Sheesh give me a break.

Re:Speechless ... (2)

Maritz (1829006) | about 5 months ago | (#46805303)

It had the word 'patriot' in it. It would've passed if it was a law banning fucking.

Re:Speechless ... (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#46805405)

You seem to assume that democracy automatically precludes tyranny. I see zero evidence from history of this being the case. In fact, I see quite the opposite: tyrants seem to reach their heights when people feel like they were given a choice to put him into power and he's on their side.

Anyway, people didn't vote FOR the NSA spying on them, and most americans don't vote in elections anyway. You could make a reasonable argument that they got what they asked for, that they should have seen the NSA spying coming based on their reactions to 9/11 and that not voting is saying "whatever." I'd agree with you on that, though I would disagree that being politically stupid means you DESERVE to have your rights eroded. But bottom line, no, the NSA programs were not democratically supported by the people in any meaningful sense of the phrase.

Re:Speechless ... (1)

pootypeople (212497) | about 5 months ago | (#46806513)

Except the people did directly support politicians who changed the law retroactively to make warrantless wiretapping OK in 2006. When faced with "your intelligence agencies did illegal things so we changed the law to retroactively make them legal" the American people basically yawned. Just because you're too ignorant to remember recent history doesn't change a thing. The American people have had many opportunities to scale back domestic intelligence gathering. Pretty much without exception they have chosen to keep the politicians who push surveillance in power.

Here's a hint -- all of these things were problems long before 9/11. The PATRIOT ACT basically codified a number of existing practices and allowed the government to use them at greater scale. Pretending "privacy" is some thing you had and just recently lost is nothing but ignorance. If you want privacy you have to take affirmative steps to protect your privacy. Anything else is just blaming others for your own laziness.

Re:Dumbass (4, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 5 months ago | (#46805101)

>Should the man's life not be hell after that? Or should he simply be hung for treason?

Treason is "a citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the parent nation."

If you seriously think that the *people* of the United States are the enemies of the United States, and aiding them is "treason", then you are completely beyond any hope of redemption.

Re:Dumbass (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46805683)

Treason is "a citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the parent nation."

This may be the generic definition of treason, but it is NOT the American definition.

Read Article 3, Section 3 of the US Constitution for the US definition of treason.

Note also that what Snowden did does NOT qualify under Article 3, Section 3, much as some people (including possibly Snowden) would like to think so.

Re:Dumbass (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805875)

>Treason is "a citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the parent nation."

Fits Snowden to a tee. When's the hanging?

Re:Dumbass (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 5 months ago | (#46806109)

Treason, no, but Snowden should absolutely be tried for espionage. (I know ironically). But what he's done is no different than John Anthony Walker or James Hall III.

Re:Dumbass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805175)

Imagine for a minute, an associate of Alan Turing [wikipedia.org] escaping Bletchely Park [wikipedia.org] in 1944 with files recording the facility's activity — and with details of its capability to decrypt Enigma [wikipedia.org] traffic.

He is outraged about the government's attempts — often successful [wikipedia.org] — to intercept other people messages (some intercepts leading to deaths of hundreds) and is smart enough to envision the future, where such ungentlemanly conduct will become common place. And so he goes public with the materials he took with him, holding a press-conference somewhere — say, in Switzerland.

Because none of the UK allies will have him, and he fears the Allies' long hand in neutral Switzerland, he takes refuge in Germany, where he is promptly drained of all the information he carries (in files and head)? Germans modify their encryption practices and Bletchley Park is no longer able to decode the communications.

Should the man's life not be hell after that? Or should he simply be hung for treason?

If you bring up the nazi argument into the debate then you've already lost.

Re:Dumbass (4, Insightful)

Archimonde (668883) | about 5 months ago | (#46805207)

I don't have time to write a full answer, but I'll just give one counterpoint.

During the 1944 there was a World War going on changing the comparison dramatically.

Bletchley park was strictly a military/couter intelligence operation working against Axis, while the NSA is fcuking surveillance on a world scale against *everyone*.

Re:Dumbass (4, Interesting)

Maritz (1829006) | about 5 months ago | (#46805281)

Imagine for a minute, an associate of Alan Turing [wikipedia.org] escaping Bletchely Park [wikipedia.org] in 1944 with files recording the facility's activity — and with details of its capability to decrypt Enigma [wikipedia.org] traffic.

lol, thanks for cobbling together one of the most tortured analogies I've seen on this. Was the Enigma machine intercepting communications of millions of civilians? I'm amazed I didn't realise that.

Re:Dumbass (5, Insightful)

Sabriel (134364) | about 5 months ago | (#46805327)

I have mod points, but we're supposed to point out why someone is wrong rather than simply mod them down. So:

Zimmerman Telegram? That was in 1917, during World War 1. The UK and Germany were officially at war and were _shooting at each other_.
Bletchely Park? That was in 1944, during World War 2. The UK and Germany were again officially at war and were _shooting at each other_.
Snowden Leaks? ... *looks around* ... I seemed to have missed the declaration of World War 3, the US and Russia are not officially at war and they are certainly not shooting at each other (to everyone's immense good fortune, because, y'know, nukes).

Furthermore, if Russia seriously wanted to FUBAR the United States, it would not need Snowden to do it, because the American security apparatus has focused for so long on playing selfish little power games instead of remedying the nation's vulnerabilities that a precocious five year old could tell you how to cripple the country (and frankly, successive US governments have been doing a pretty bang up job of that on their own anyway).

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805417)

Oh !@#$ off. The UK was using Enigma to decrypt wartime German messages. The Germans were clear aggressors in that war. There is NO comparison to the US using technology to spy on it's OWN citizens, against it's OWN rules. Go Away Troll.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805691)

to intercept other people messages

Where by "other people" you mean "its own citizens"? No? Mighty fine strawman you're building there, it'd be a shame if something were to happen to it.

Re:Dumbass (1)

datorum (1280144) | about 5 months ago | (#46806499)

the comparison is totally off
1. "Envisioning the future" vs. working on programs of mass-surveillance against the own population.
2. The Zimmermann Telegram was sent during war-time via diplomatic channels.
3. The Enigma was primarily used for military encryption.
4. The Allies were at (world) war against Germany.
5. The war against Germany was officially declared.

Re:Dumbass (1, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 5 months ago | (#46804707)

Lets expand on that. Why can't ordinary citizens of the many nations (US, UK, AU, NZ, CA) that Snowden took documents from and leaked have a grievance against him? Do they all work for the intelligence services of their government? Or can ordinary citizens be against it and express an opinion? If not, are you working on the side of the FSB and Chinese intelligence in the conduct of political warfare against the US by advocating in favor of Snowden? If not, why can't someone have a contrary view, that Snowden's actions were bad, without working for the NSA? Does the fact that he arranges for a few of the documents that he stole to be published make it all OK? Does that give Snowden a pass to do whatever he wants without criticism?

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804895)

Of course they can, it's called Stockholm syndrome.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804909)

Snowdens' supporters might get upset if they realize you refer to him like that.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46806241)

You need to have your head checked if you believe refering to cold fjord as a victim of Stockholm syndrome is going to upset Snowden's supporters. What drugs are you on? It must be very heavy stuff.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46806457)

That makes no sense. Snowden's the one closest to captivity and Stockholm.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805339)

You can of course express any view you wish. Just don't be surprised when you're decried as the servile bootlicker you are.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805629)

Big talk for someone embracing a traitor.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804443)

I'm working on real problems. Not made up ones that paranoid anti-government types think are important.

Re:Dumbass (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#46804529)

Our surveillance society is a huge risk to our well being in regards to our physical, economic, and social liberty. It's pretty damn important.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804531)

And those problems are real according to *whom*? The people that give you your paycheck? The US used to be a Democracy started by rich land owners. Now apparently it's an Oligarchy maintained by rich 'land' owners. Guess what's next...

Re:Dumbass (1)

CanHasDlY (3618887) | about 5 months ago | (#46804723)

Real problems? Such as what? Are you attempting to stop the government from violating our fundamental liberties or the highest law of the land? If not, there isn't really anything more important in a country that's supposed to be a land of free and brave people.

Or are you one of those people who are completely and utterly ignorant of the myriad of government abuses throughout history to such a degree that you trust the government and all future people who will be in the government to never abuse their powers, make mistakes, or violate anyone's rights? Perfect humans don't exist, so if that's you, then it's time to wake up from your naive delusions.

Re:Dumbass (1)

ZouPrime (460611) | about 5 months ago | (#46804757)

Btw, I did not write that. AC isn't me.

Re:Dumbass (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 5 months ago | (#46804479)

Why should the OP, presumably living outside Russia, "get involved" when this is something that ultimately depends on the Russian people? The ultimate reason that Snowden cannot start a conversation is widespread apathy among the Russian population, and the OP is in no position to change that without opening himself up to claims of "political interference" or "furthering US (EU, whatever) interests".

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804497)

Maybe Snowden is planning on bringing Freedom and Democracy to Russia!

This was his plan all along, the NSA docs were just a way to get him on the field.

Snowden for 'Merica and Democracy, fuck yeah!

I Plead the 5th (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804409)

... talking about how you asked a tough question to a leader who doesn't give a shit about looking hypocritical or lying...

Yet Putin didn't outright admit to Russia performing the same sort of mass surveillance. You see, most people have a certain bias about people. When you support a person, they can be evasion and give inconsistent denial and people accept it as a form of "pleasing the 5th" or just general politics. When you're against a person, then anything short of a clear denial with evidence is seen as proof to the affirmative. In between, you have most people who realize that the person asking questions has a bias, the "experts" have a bias, there's often not clear evidence, and often the whole subject is subjective with cultural norms deciding just what is acceptable--Russians seem to have been brainwashed into believing that spying on the people is such a norm that even if they're per se against it, they're not willing to fight and die over it.

In the end, Snowden is there to let the "horse" speak and instead of simply letting the people go off of ZouPrime's person opinion about the situation, Snowden can use Putin's own direct words to prove ZouPrime's or Snowden's or others opinions as more likely to be true. Until, though, you give the person who supposedly doesn't give a shit about lying to lie, then you're just screaming into the dark about how much your "opponent" is a liar.

Now, if you want to argue that Russia is a de facto dicatorship and Putin *will* lie and engage in subterfuge and hypocracy to create the illusion of a democracy to maintain control, that'd be an actually more believable opinion. And that's more or less what Snowden took a step towards proving.

Re:Dumbass (2)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 5 months ago | (#46804419)

How can there be a Russian conversation about domestic surveillance when they have trouble having political opposition, let alone a free press!

Very one sidedly.

Re:Dumbass (4, Insightful)

Thruen (753567) | about 5 months ago | (#46804473)

I'm not sure I understand the issue here. Russia has a seriously limited press, yes, but how does that lead to believing he shouldn't have asked the question at all. Wasn't this broadcast live? Even if many Russians couldn't watch it, many could and did. When a country has such a restricted press, the solution is not to stop trying to get the truth out. Sure, there are bigger issues, in Russia and elsewhere. But Snowden is now famous for revealing his home country's mass surveillance program, wouldn't it make sense for him to try and continue down that path? Would it have made more sense to you if he went to Russia and then started fighting for freedom for homosexuals and forgot all about mass surveillance?

Even in the US, we haven't done much about what he exposed, we haven't thrown anyone in jail for lying through their teeth about the program, instead we (and you, right now) have been focusing on discrediting the person who gave up everything in order to tell the truth. How can you sit there and say he should stop trying to expose corruption because the corrupt are too corrupt to care? Why don't we tell everyone under an oppressive government they should just give up and live with it?

Maybe instead of complaining that Snowden should've known better than to ask, you should be complaining that Putin is lying yet again, considering that's the actual problem. I can't understand why people think he should've just not bothered asking when he had the opportunity.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804541)

"Live" is not "live," even in the US. So, no, this was not broadcast "live" in the sense that Snowden could have asked any ol' gotcha question to stump Putin. If Snowden had misbehaved, the broadcast would have been cut before the question aired.

They were both reading from a script. This is old hat for PR broadcasts, and even US Presidents have been caught using planted "reporters" to ask questions they want to answer.

Yes, the question needed to be asked, but by having Snowden ask it, Putin effectively delegitimized the entire process. Look at us... we're arguing over Snowden's motives and ambitions rather than talking about whether Russia has a domestic spy program. Putin is not the idiot that people seem to think; this is exactly what he wanted.

Re:Dumbass (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46804843)

And you imagine that Putin told the truth, why?

Though if you look closely at his answer, it was quite possible that it was the truth. Of course, his answer wasn't quite an answer to the question, now was it?

Yes, Russia is a nation of laws. I agree. Has nothing to do with the question.

I will even accept that it requires a warrant (or Russian equivalent) to listen in on "any particular person". Which also has nothing to do with the question, since the question was about mass spying a la the NSA.

Note, by the by, that the USA is a "nation of laws", and requires a warrant (or equivalent) to spy on "any particular person", yet still manages to spy on pretty much everyone....

Re:Dumbass (1)

hax4bux (209237) | about 5 months ago | (#46804577)

Slow clap. I wish I had mod points.

Re:Dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805005)

You get it, but you ignore it because you're investment in Russian securities probably tanked in the past 3 months. Boo hoo for you.

I don't know whether this Snowden, Putin charade was worth it, but the point wasn't to win over opinion. Nor was it to wag a finger at the west. The point, which you obviously get, but again, completely ignore, was to get Putin in front of the camera on this issue. Everyone knows Putin is full of shit on this. EVERYONE! This is aking to having 'emporer Putin' , parade with no clothes on when he was given a robe before the countdown to action. Do you really think Snowden, or anyone in the west truly believes a single word that comes out of Putins mouth? Here's the thing about the 'doesn't give a shit about looking hypocritical or lying' czar: despite Putin knowing where a good amount of bodies are, he'll only remain in power as long as the wealthiest Russians who put him there, remain wealthy. The moment they start losing their wealth, he is out faster than his Ukrainian invasion.

In short, this is about the long game. You're stuck on the past 10 month, when we're looking at the next 10 years!

Re:Dumbass (2)

Arker (91948) | about 5 months ago | (#46805585)

"2014 Reporters Without Borders World free press index"

Where the US has fallen ignominiously to nearly 50, so the same argument could be used to criticize anyone that tries to start a conversation with Obama as well?

Still smells funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804257)

Beware of those who claim to be your ally and tell you what you want to hear.

To Mr. Snowden (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804291)

Dear Edward,

You have courageously done the right thing, and because of that, there will be people, especially those who lean towards fascism, will do anything and everything to tarnish your image.

Even in Slashdot we have a group lead by "Cold Fjord" astroturfing their lies, looking for every single opportunity to paint you as a "traitor", a "coward", and so on.

Therefore, there should be no surprised at all with those attacks on your call-in to Putin asking him questions.

Even if the question you ask isn't the one you ask - even if you ask a very very *VERY* pointed question, those bastards will still attack you - because, deep in their heart, you are ENEMY NUMBER ONE, they hate you more than they hate Putin himself.

I believe that you have done what you were out to do, and you have been very successful at it. I believe that all you want is a world, a future world, that is worth living. I truly believe that one day that freedom will come, and I will continue to pray for you and all those who will continue the fight against fascism of all kind.

Happy Easter, Mr. Snowden !

The Lord as Risen, and hopefully, the Freedom will rise as well !!

Why do people think Snowden would've done that? (5, Insightful)

Thruen (753567) | about 5 months ago | (#46804317)

After watching a man sacrifice his chances of living a normal life, fleeing the country he grew up in after doing what he felt was right, why did so many readily believe he was willing to give up his principals so easily? Obviously Putin wasn't going to give a straight answer, whether in the US or Russia or anywhere else politicians lie when it suits them. How often do we go after reporters, attacking them for asking questions they don't receive truthful answers to? The entire incident seemed a clear attempt at discrediting Snowden, something that should have been exceedingly obvious to everyone. I applaud him for having the courage to put his own safety on the line and ask Putin about mass surveillance. I'm sure he fully expected the dodgy answer he got, he may have even expected further consequences from Putin and his lackeys, but I doubt he expected people to turn around and say he shouldn't have asked the question to begin with. He shows more courage still coming out and challenging Putin's answer in this article. We owe him our gratitude, respect, and an apology.

Re:Why do people think Snowden would've done that? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804585)

We don't believe he gave up his principals. We suspect that his principals are not what you believe they are.

Re:Why do people think Snowden would've done that? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805515)

> We suspect that his principals are not what you believe they are.

By 'we' you mean the people puppeting the astroturfers who are trying to discredit snowden to support the govt line on the issue in forums such as these?

Re:Why do people think Snowden would've done that? (1, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about 5 months ago | (#46805661)

By 'we' you mean the people puppeting the astroturfers who are trying to discredit snowden to support the govt line on the issue in forums such as these?

No, by "we" he means all of us who think that. Thinking that doling out the huge amount of information he stole, and then wandering his way through one totalitarian country before setting up shop in another is a bad thing and indicative of his muddled world view ... that's not "the government line," that's being realistic. Snowden was and is being handled. His appearance on TV with Putin couldn't have looked more scripted, or more set up to allow Putin to answer in the dismissive, oily way that he did - all while sending the Useful Idiots that think Snowden is a clear-headed hero a nice little pat on the head.

They will attack Snowden no matter what ! (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 5 months ago | (#46804633)

Mr. Snowden asked Putin a question and they crawled out from under the rocks and singled out on Snowden for asking "soft question" and/or "canned performance", et cetera, et cetera, et cetera ....

Even if Snowden didn't ask any question (didn't participate on the call-in program at all) they would still find a way to attack Snowden

NSA has a long memory - and they will never stop harassing Snowden, period.

Re:Why do people think Snowden would've done that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805195)

After watching a man sacrifice his chances of living a normal life, fleeing the country he grew up in after doing what he felt was right, why did so many readily believe he was willing to give up his principals so easily? Obviously Putin wasn't going to give a straight answer, whether in the US or Russia or anywhere else politicians lie when it suits them. How often do we go after reporters, attacking them for asking questions they don't receive truthful answers to? The entire incident seemed a clear attempt at discrediting Snowden, something that should have been exceedingly obvious to everyone. I applaud him for having the courage to put his own safety on the line and ask Putin about mass surveillance. I'm sure he fully expected the dodgy answer he got, he may have even expected further consequences from Putin and his lackeys, but I doubt he expected people to turn around and say he shouldn't have asked the question to begin with. He shows more courage still coming out and challenging Putin's answer in this article. We owe him our gratitude, respect, and an apology.

"I blew the whistle on the NSA's surveillance practices not because I believed that the United States was uniquely at fault, but because I believe that mass surveillance of innocents – the construction of enormous, state-run surveillance time machines that can turn back the clock on the most intimate details of our lives – is a threat to all people, everywhere, no matter who runs them. Last year, I risked family, life, and freedom to help initiate a global debate that even Obama himself conceded 'will make our nation stronger.' I am no more willing to trade my principles for privilege today than I was then. I understand the concerns of critics, but there is a more obvious explanation for my question than a secret desire to defend the kind of policies I sacrificed a comfortable life to challenge: if we are to test the truth of officials' claims, we must first give them an opportunity to make those claims."

Are we really going to act naive? This spying sh** has been GOING ON FOR DECADES! So now some idiot decides for selfish ego-centric reasons brings it up and now everyone is calling him a fuc**ng hero? The arrogance of this country is the very reason this spying has continued to get out of control.

And the NSA is just the start, you can bet there are other spying agencies that have been getting away with far worse. As far as I'm concerned the NSA is nothing more then a large data center, and the FBI, CIA, Pentagon, ect., all have files and 'targets' stored within their data centers. Have we not learned anything from government? While they are arrogant, they are not going to leave it all up to one agency, you need a decoy, a sacrificial lamb, to keep the press and citizens dumbfounded.

Re:Why do people think Snowden would've done that? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805589)

Are we really going to act naive? This spying sh** has been GOING ON FOR DECADES! So now some idiot decides for selfish ego-centric reasons brings it up and now everyone is calling him a fuc**ng hero? The arrogance of this country is the very reason this spying has continued to get out of control.

So to clarify; you think that mass gathering of cellphone metadata has been going on for decades. Fool.

Re:Why do people think Snowden would've done that? (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 5 months ago | (#46806293)

Simple: People do not want to hear what Snowden says, they want to put their heads in the sand. That makes Snowden a hero and the common citizen that is trying very hard not to see the writing on the wall a cretin. Unfortunately, the world if full of cretins that are so in love with their misconceptions that they fight anybody that points out the truth to them, instead of readjusting their views to the facts.

By now I am convinced that this is perhaps the main problem the human race has. Add to that the fact that most people do not come up with their misconceptions, but take them from "authority" figures that shamelessly manipulate them this way.

Citation (very worthwhile read): "Bob Altemeyer's - The Authoritarians" - http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~a... [umanitoba.ca]

Corrupt and authoritarian Russia (-1)

Andover Chick (1859494) | about 5 months ago | (#46804329)

Russia is the quintessence of corruption, control, and spying on it's citizens. Snowden, the hypocrite, has betrayed his original moral delusion.

Wrong Question (3, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 5 months ago | (#46804331)

Snowden to Critics: Questioning Putin Has Opened Conversation About Surveillance

If he really wanted to ask questions about freedoms, he should have asked about the LGBT rights in Russia or Chechens' right for self-determination. In the US, asking about surveillance violations is the right question to ask because, by and large, it is one of the most pressing issues. In Russia, that ain't.

The proper question to ask when it comes to freedom is always the one concerning the greatest, most infamous violations.

Re:Wrong Question (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 5 months ago | (#46804393)

Those are not his battles. In any case, mass surveillence causes consequences for anyone who organizes regarding any other issue. How is ensuring people are safe to talk about the pressing issues not a pressing issue?

Re:Wrong Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804565)

Those are not his battles.

How convenient.

Re:Wrong Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805453)

How convenient.

Yes, how dare he not be born Russian and know everything about Russia's problems. Would you like to make a snide remark about him not going back in time and culling the Bolshevik party of corruption post-Russian Civil War next? If you are Russian, why don't you go and try to solve your own problems instead of expecting others to solve them for you? If you aren't, then you are free to book a flight to Russia and start helping them directly. As it stands, your complaining on the internet is helping no one.

Re:Wrong Question (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about 5 months ago | (#46805619)

Nope, don't see the convenience at all.

Re:Wrong Question (3, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 5 months ago | (#46804461)

Snowden, a former NSA sysadmin, isn't an expert on any of those subjects, and probably isn't terribly interested in them either.

Re:Wrong Question (5, Insightful)

_Ludwig (86077) | about 5 months ago | (#46804467)

The proper questions to ask are those that you know something about. For Snowden to suddenly jump on LGBT rights or Chechen independence would come off as the type of issue-of-the-day “activism” sometimes seen with celebrities. It would make about as much sense as if Pussy Riot went on U.S. television to talk about Obamacare or the Keystone Pipeline.

Re:Wrong Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46806237)

That's not the same at all. Unlike Pussy Riot, every American knows everything about everything*.

*Unless they disagree with me. Then they're an idiot or a liar.

Re:Wrong Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804575)

You mean the Chechen's right to take western money and behead the infidels? There's a reason Chechens are despised by all their neighbours...

Re:Wrong Question (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 5 months ago | (#46804581)

If he really wanted to ask questions about freedoms, he should have asked about the LGBT rights in Russia or Chechens' right for self-determination. In the US, asking about surveillance violations is the right question to ask because, by and large, it is one of the most pressing issues. In Russia, that ain't.

The proper question to ask when it comes to freedom is always the one concerning the greatest, most infamous violations.

Not really. Both subjects, and plenty more, would be appropriate to ask in Russia. There is no shortage of problematic areas of human rights issues there, not to mention a growing list of incidents of aggression against its neighbors. Russia is choosing to revert to its Soviet past.

Re:Wrong Question (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 5 months ago | (#46804743)

If he really wanted to ask questions about freedoms, he should have asked about the LGBT rights in Russia or Chechens' right for self-determination

... why motherfucking stop there ??

Why not asking question about why the working bees have to slave their lives for that motherfucking Queen Bee ?

I mean, the FREEDOM of the BILLIONS of the working bees rests on the hands of Mr. Snowden !!

How dare Snowden forgets to ask THAT question !!

Re:Wrong Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805007)

You can disagree with Putin about many things but he does provide a freedom from gay propaganda. That's a far step ahead of many other countries that could be named.

Re: Wrong Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805393)

"If he really wanted to ask questions about freedoms, he should have asked about the LGBT rights in Russia or Chechens' right for self-determination."

Before he could do that, he would need someone to give him some straw man arguments so that he can last in an argument he probably doesn't know nearly enough on to speak or certainly argue in detail. There are no shortage of better qualified people and groups asking those questions of Putin and Russia.

"In the US, asking about surveillance violations is the right question to ask because, by and large, it is one of the most pressing issues."

If you think this is "by and large" one of the most pressing issues in the US, you don't get out much. Or at least you're showing an extremely heavy bias. Which goes to show that focus on simply the "greatest, most infamous violations" as you put it is probably not the best idea. Not to mention the fact that simply getting agreement on those across millions of people will probably turn into an argument that will distract the masses better than anything else.

US Revelations vs. Confronting Putin (3, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 5 months ago | (#46804333)

It is a courage of a different order in the the den of the Bear.

He was an idealistic young programmer who, some would say, naively did what he thought was right in the U.S. He knew or at least suspected there would be a downside, but he is under no illusion what would happen if he attempts to publicly upset Putin's apple cart.

The first thing that comes to mind is we wouldn't have even heard of this video if it didn't go according to script.

Re:US Revelations vs. Confronting Putin (2)

Arker (91948) | about 5 months ago | (#46805475)

"The first thing that comes to mind is we wouldn't have even heard of this video if it didn't go according to script."

And this drivel gets +5 insightful?

It was a live call-in show. Yes, they have these things in Russia, and more amazingly, their President has the cajones to go on one and take callers. The Soviet Union fell a long, long time ago you know.

Snowdens question was the first gambit in a line of attack that leads to parsing essentially the same lie the NSA still tries. They actually collect everything, and stick it in a database, but they arent really supposed to pull it back out without a reason, so since most of the stuff in the database never gets looked at by a human, they want to say they arent *really* collecting it all. They only want to admit to collecting the stuff they admit to going back and looking at later, and say it's not mass surveillance, it's targeted. But that's just not how the technology works.

If you want to be able to come back in 6 months and pick out a single call to listen to, you have to record ALL the calls and keep them stored for some time in order to enable this. And maybe there is one call in there that winds up being of use in a criminal investigation, great. Along with 200 that are useful for blackmail or extortion? Do we think the intelligence agents who have access to this information are angels who could never consider doing anything wrong, or incompetents who could work there every day for years but never find a way to get away with anything?

Re:US Revelations vs. Confronting Putin (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 5 months ago | (#46805735)

And this drivel gets +5 insightful?

It was a live call-in show.

You're so cute, there.

The Soviet Union fell a long, long time ago you know.

Even more cute!

They other guy in the conversation was a KGB agent, has said publicly that he thinks the end of the Soviet Union was a huge tragedy, and is slowly but surely trying to build that empire back up again - and once again, using force.

That "phone in" show was completely scripted. You utterly embarrass yourself pretending otherwise. For you to go to that much trouble with the charade suggests that you're every bit the shill/puppet that Snowden was during that little bit of theater. You're not fooling anybody, so please stop trying.

Re:US Revelations vs. Confronting Putin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46806489)

You have no idea how live TV works.

Re:US Revelations vs. Confronting Putin (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 5 months ago | (#46806093)

Snowden is in no danger in Russia for one very good reason: he doesn't know anything specific about Russian surveillance, and will never be hired to a position where he would. So he's no threat.

Spy Talk (3, Interesting)

Pencil_Nebula (2916255) | about 5 months ago | (#46804341)

For some time one has questioned if Snowden is a naive whistle blower with good intentions or is a sophisticated Russian intelligence operator. Recent events especially Russian phone and intelligence in the Ukraine support a definite leaning to the latter, intelligence operator. All that Snowden appearance has done to intelligence types is to push that leaning into the realm of a possible certainty proving almost conclusive proof that the NSA is completely and thoroughly penetrated and compromised. One way to view his appearance is that the Russians are talking to the Americans and saying covertly with out actually saying it overtly is that "We know every thing you are doing in the Ukraine and every where else in the world". Assuming, to those of us outside the intelligence community, that our community organizer just got cough with his pants down in what our State Department would call a major Woopsie in attempting to install a more western oriented government in the Ukraine it could be that what the Russians are attempting to do is stop western revolution attempts before this elapses into a more final judgement with mushroom shaped clouds.

Re:Spy Talk (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 5 months ago | (#46804489)

So Snowden was actually a Russian spy all along? Is that why he went to Hong Kong first, then applied and waited for assylum in Russia? Sorry, that doesn't make any fucking sense. (IAA Intelligence Analyst)

Re:Spy Talk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804635)

You sir have a reading and comprehension problem.

On the world stage the most one can be certain of is that there is a possibility of something bring correct or incorrect.

Governments never nevail all their secrets.

Re:Spy Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804777)

Damn it's annoying when idiots talk politics. Your post doesn't make sense -- it's like you're trying to echo whatever whacko guy on the radio you listen to.

Here's an informative wikipedia article that will help you look less stupid in the future: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Spy Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804793)

Writes like a NSA plant.

Re:Spy Talk (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about 5 months ago | (#46805679)

For some time one has questioned if Snowden is a naive whistle blower with good intentions or is a sophisticated Russian intelligence operator.

Your bias is right there in your first sentence. False dichotomy; Snowden can also be neither of those two. Try to be less obvious if you want to persuade people on the fence.

I risked... I sacrificed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804357)

He chose.... to lie his way into secrets, the contents of which he, by his own admission, could not at the time have known, and then to shop those secrets around to such bastions of freedom as Venezuela, Cuba, China, and Russia. The outcome has been mostly beneficial purely by dumb luck -- his actions leading to and following his exodus from the US paints a clear picture of his motivations; it's not necessary for him to clarify.

Re:I risked... I sacrificed... (2)

Maritz (1829006) | about 5 months ago | (#46805713)

and then to shop those secrets around to such bastions of freedom as Venezuela, Cuba, China, and Russia.

The documents went to the Guardian and the Washington Post. Makes the rest of what you said look foolish, doesn't it.

Re:I risked... I sacrificed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46806377)

And since he's repeatedly said he's "still going through them," "deciding what to release," and has "safely secured the documents," going as far as to recommend the encryption standards that he uses at SXSW and various other technical outlets, that kind of makes you sound like a jabbering fucking idiot, doesn't it?

At what point did it become more acceptable to trust a guy who openly admits to lying in order to steal solely for the sake of stealing? You do realize that, having no prior knowledge of the contents of the files he stole, per his own story, that's the only possible motivation he could have had, right? I mean, you get that this whole "savior of the universe" shit is completely fabricated, post-hoc, right?

Seems dubious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804415)

Snowden's point is that it's worth getting Putin on record lying so that later if something comes out, the damage will be amplified based on the fact that he lied. This seems reasonable in a situation where lying itself is punished. However, we're less than a month out from Putin lying to claim his troops did not invade Crimea and then admitting "well, the ends justify the means" and there's no clear evidence that he's being punished for lying. To the extent that there's international pressure, it's about the act and not the lie. I suspect if it did come out that Russia was engaging in widespread, NSA-style surveillance, the brunt of the criticism would be directed towards the surveillance, and not a gotcha moment where Putin denied surveilling in the past.

As a result, I find it difficult to believe that the future value of having Putin on the record on this question exceeds the propaganda value of having him deliver a polished answer that makes himself look good now.

Of course it was a scripted moment (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | about 5 months ago | (#46804417)

As will the ensuing debate be. The world is a rigged game.

Extra! Extra! Man Gets Lied to by Politician! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46804481)

The content is a lot less interesting when he is the one writing it...

Snowden / Putin (0, Redundant)

Suffering Bastard (194752) | about 5 months ago | (#46804901)

Snowden has exercised great courage and fortitude throughout this process. I think it's fair to say that most of us here cannot imagine how we'd hold up under the conditions he's living with. It would seem reasonable to assume that Putin has thought long and hard about how to use Snowden as a political pawn. He basically has Snowden by the (rather large) balls and could theoretically leverage that any way he chooses.

So to see that all that's happened so far is that Snowden has "lobbed a softball," asking a semantically consistent and valid, if politically weak, question for Putin to prop himself up a little is to me fairly remarkable. Why not force Snowden to ask more questions and fawn over Putin's greatness? You know, say things like "I am so impressed with the upholding of law and order in Russia. Putin is truly a great statesman." Does Snowden hold some card(s) that keeps Putin somewhat at bay?

Moreover, Putin must have read this latest article by Snowden, and Snowden would be expecting that. He's free enough -- or courageous enough -- to continue to speak his mind.

Like the way Snowden (okay, the press) has handled the release of information against the NSA, I'm highly impressed with his skillful handling of what must be a very difficult situation. He has shown heroism for his actions in service to his country, while showing brilliance in surviving his circumstances. My hat -- heck all my hats -- are off to him.

Re:Snowden / Putin (-1, Flamebait)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46805203)

Fuck him. He's a traitor and I hope they bring his ass home and hang him.

Re:Snowden / Putin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805455)

I think you're a traitor, and I hope they hang you. :D I don't mind surveilance. Just get a damn warrant first. You're willing to break our 4th amendment. Traitor.

Re:Snowden / Putin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805771)

Spoken like a true mouth-breathing fuckwit. Enjoy being on the wrong side of history dickhead.

Snowden is a spook (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805399)

Snowden is clearly a spook, simply trying to convince the world that the United States NSA has much more capabilities than they actually have. The Nazi's used similar tactics.

All the other whistleblowers have been kept quiet, and mostly out of the mainstream media, but not Snowden, he is ALL OVER IT, constantly.

If I upload a Youtube video with copyrighted work, it will be taken down very quickly. But when Snowden has top secret information vital to national security, those videos stay up for months at a time.

Trust the math, there is no way the NSA can crack some of the encryption they claim.

Snowden started as whistle blower...but then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46805577)

Sure he started as a whistle blower, one that I personally applauded. If he had stayed in the realm of NSA spying on US citizens, he probably would have been fine. But when you go beyond that and expose your nation's methods for collecting data on others, then you have gone too far, no matter the nation.

Skeptical Blogger (2)

NCoast (3624237) | about 5 months ago | (#46805623)

This blogger about all things Russia thinks the entire Snowden/Putin exchange, including the follow-up Guardian article, was orchestrated: http://3dblogger.typepad.com/m... [typepad.com]

Even the comments here on /. are orchestrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46806221)

Even the comments here on /. are orchestrated .

How can you not see it ?

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