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Snowden Queries Putin On Live TV Regarding Russian Internet Surveillance 396

Posted by timothy
from the keep-to-the-script-now dept.
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Edward Snowden appeared on a Russian television call-in show to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin about policies of mass surveillance. The exchange has a canned quality which will likely lead to questions regarding the integrity of Snowden's actions, in the query of his host in asylum."
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Snowden Queries Putin On Live TV Regarding Russian Internet Surveillance

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  • Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:06PM (#46780467)

    These propaganda sessions for Putin are pre-staged so Snowden has allowed himself to be used as a "propaganda tool". Considering how freedoms are curtailed in Russia, it seriously deminishes Snowden's reputation.

  • Old proverb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:06PM (#46780469)

    It loses a bit in the translation but essentially it says "When you're living with wolves, you better learn fast how to howl, lest they might think you're a sheep".

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:11PM (#46780519) Homepage Journal

    Putin is under no compunction to tell the truth. And there's no reason to expect he would.

    Obama is under no compunction to tell the truth. And there's no reason to expect he would.

    Hillary is under no compunction to tell the truth. And there's no reason to expect she would.

    Kerry is under no compunction to tell the truth. And there's no reason to expect he would.

  • Voluntary? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:13PM (#46780531)

    I wouldn't put it past the Russians to stage such an appearance by threatening Snowden. In fact, that's the most likely scenario; Putin could hand him over to the US at any time.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:14PM (#46780557) Homepage Journal

    It's interesting what one will do when your political asylum is up for renewal.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:19PM (#46780625)

    The sessions of any western Head of State are pre-staged too. The questions are known to all parties in advance. So what is your point?

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDlY (3618887) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:26PM (#46780709) Homepage

    Doesn't this call into question everything Snowden has said?

    Nice try. People who make any of this about Snowden are trying to hide the fact that the government is violating the constitution and people's fundamental liberties.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:31PM (#46780765)

    These propaganda sessions for Putin are pre-staged so Snowden has allowed himself to be used as a "propaganda tool". C

    But that is what Snowden has ALWAYS been for Putin, a propaganda tool. Why should it change now?

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:32PM (#46780779)

    While true, your statement also assumes he had a choice...

    Either way, it demonstrates that Snowden is a tool. Just not sure what kind...

    I agree, but this is no surprise. Snowden has been a tool of Putin the whole time. Why change now?

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:35PM (#46780807)

    Yep -- if the US wanted to not give Putin a propaganda tool, they could have welcomed him back home with a guarantee of safety.

    We made our choice, and he took refuge in the only place he could.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomanisanisland (3617737) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:40PM (#46780857)

    He probably could have tried legal measures to implement reform if it was actually more important to him than being famous

    Really? What legal measures could he have tried while remaining in the US? He would have been arrested faster than SSD read times, and never heard from again for "national security" reasons. The government's first response was to label him a traitor - they don't let you have much freedom as a traitor, in case you didn't know. I doubt any legal measures he could have tried before being arrested as a traitor would even have been reported on by the press, again for national security reasons.

    Whether you think his revelations were right or wrong, I think you'd have to agree he couldn't have truly revealed anything successfully by staying in the US.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:43PM (#46780905)

    You seem to be talking about Putin, while gp was talking about Snowden.

  • Ask Vlad Anything (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:44PM (#46780915)

    When did Slashdot become infested with NSA apologists?

    Putin does this show [mashable.com] annually. I am sure that the callers are vetted, but the questions tend to be wide-ranging, and don't really seem scripted to me. (I liked the one about buying Alaska back.) After all, it's a 4 hour show.

    Now, as for Snowden, I see this as positive. State security is not talked about that much in Russia, and he brought it up. While Putin said pretty much what Obama might have said in 2010 (in other words, it's fair to doubt whether he was being truthful), it gets it out in the open, and all in all I think that is a good thing.

  • by DavidHumus (725117) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:46PM (#46780933)

    ...know about surveillance?

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:49PM (#46780963)

    He chose to flee to the two countries with the BIGGEST free speech / surveillance issues in the world-- China and Russia-- after publicly blowing the whistle on much lesser instances in the US.

    I mean we're throwing a fit about the NSA's capturing of "metadata". China just snorts up every bit of cell and internet data that goes in or out of any ISP or carrier, and they barely attempt to hide it. Im sure Russia is pretty close.

    So yes, he had a choice, and he made it about 8 months ago, and it was a remarkably bad one.

  • In Mother Russa... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:49PM (#46780965)

    Even the questions you can ask are provided by the state..

    OF COURSE it was scripted and likely highly edited. This is 100% propaganda aimed squarely at the west by Putin. Snowden is just being used to attract attention and shape the message. He's just a pawn in a much larger game.

    Reading between the lines though, I wonder what Putin is up to. Why bother with this?

  • by amosh (109566) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:54PM (#46781013)

    I was really on the fence, teetering into anti-Snowden territory... but this gave me a really strong push. SO - is Snowden:

    1. So blinded by his hatred for America that Russia actually seems better to him? Or
    2. So stupid that he went to Russia not realizing that he'd be forced at gunpoint into becoming a tool of Putin?

    Honestly, Ed - thanks for the disclosure, it was something that we really needed. But you did it for the wrong reasons, made some incredibly stupid choices, and I look forward to when you're spending the rest of your life in a tiny cell. Maybe you can share a room with Assange.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by glrotate (300695) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:54PM (#46781025) Homepage

    I asked my senator if he had ever called her about his concerns. She said "no."

    I''m going to go out on a limb and say that he never called Ron/Rand Paul, or any other congressman that one would assume would be receptive to the sort of grievances Snowden supposedly has.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kremmy (793693) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:03PM (#46781103)
    I'm gonna go out of my way and say that every single congress critter was in on it, right up until they realized they were being watched as well.
  • by fremsley471 (792813) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:11PM (#46781185)

    To anyone who ever says that Snowden told the terrorists about bugging. The 2010 film Four Lions has a scene with the terrorist plotters using a spoof on Disney's "Club Penguin", making it the only safe method to chat to each other (it's a black comedy). Interception was so widely known, it was a joke (see Bin Laden's lack of house-hold comms).

    The people who didn't suspect that electronic comms were all thoroughly bugged were the other 99.999999% of the population. They thought the 'goodies' were targeting the 'baddies'.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N1AK (864906) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:13PM (#46781207) Homepage

    I mean we're throwing a fit about the NSA's capturing of "metadata". China just snorts up every bit of cell and internet data that goes in or out of any ISP or carrier, and they barely attempt to hide it. Im sure Russia is pretty close.

    What China does in surveillance of their own citizens isn't acceptable in my opinion but how is "they're even worse" a valid defence for the US which has constantly acted like it stands apart on these matters. Secondly, and something I think Americans really don't appreciate, as someone from outside both China and the US I know China would probably try and intercept my calls etc, but at least they don't pretend to be my friend while they are at it which America has been.

    I'm yet to hear a good criticism of how Snowden behaved. Arguments like "he should have stayed within the system" are laughable when one considers what he already tried and the fates of others who tried, the but, but, but someone else is worse argument is relative and just shoddy misdirection. I'm incredibly grateful that he had the balls to share what he knew with the world.

  • Re:Voluntary? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:16PM (#46781237) Homepage

    He didn't choose Moscow. He chose Latin America and got stuck in Russia when the USA revoked his passport. It's the US governments fault he's now in Russia and yet they try and paint him as a traitor who ran to the Russians - yet more US hypocrisy and propaganda.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nomanisanisland (3617737) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:17PM (#46781243)

    I asked my senator if he had ever called her about his concerns. She said "no." I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he never called Ron/Rand Paul, or any other congressman that one would assume would be receptive to the sort of grievances Snowden supposedly has.

    For a few seconds I thought you were being serious, and I was going to respond with something like "You think going to a politician, any politician, with material the government considers treasonous to reveal, is a good idea?!?" But then I realized you must be joking, because no one is that insane. So I applaud you sir/madame, well done! You had me a for a bit.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kremmy (793693) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:18PM (#46781255)
    Do you not remember the grounding of a presidential figure's aircraft on the basis of the possibility that Snowden was on it? To say this man had a choice is to completely ignore the situation. 100 percent.
  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:34PM (#46781453)

    So the US is enough of a "Big Bad" that its worth Snowden risking his life.... so he flees to an even Bigger Bad, and cooperates with their propaganda machine.

    No choice my foot.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:36PM (#46781465) Homepage

    Congratulations. Your post wins the "who can represent the worst stereotypes about Americans" prize for this thread.

    Let's recap. Snowden revealed gross abuses and illegality in your government. Doing this results in the same sort of punishments as it does in many other countries with overly authoritarian leadership: lifetime in jail, as you request. So to do the big reveal you admit is something you "really needed", he had to run. His first choice was Hong Kong, but when it appeared the Chinese might hand him over or keep him jailed for years in diplomatic limbo he decided to go to Latin America, probably Ecuador. He was en-route there when the US Govt revoked his passport, leaving him stranded in Russia which happened to be on the way.

    Your post and general mentality have multiple failures, but don't worry, they are correctable.

    1. An absurdly strong "us vs them" complex.
    2. A garbled and factually incorrect belief about events in very recent history.
    3. A desire to see someone who did something "really needed" severely punished because he did it for "the wrong reasons", you of course don't elaborate on what those wrong reasons were. He has stated his reasons many times: he saw illegal behaviour and knew it had led to dangerous territory and serious abuses. He did not do it for personal fame or fortune, as evidenced by the fact that he is now broke and vanished from the scene almost entirely for months after he got let out of the Russian airport. Pretty hard to argue he had the wrong reasons.
    4. Finally, a strong quasi-religious belief that the USA is better than Russia, despite the fact that they are both remarkably aggressive and corrupt societies, run by oligarchies, in which democracy is barely functional and anyone who challenges the status quo has to run away lest they end up with a life sentence from a kangaroo court. In addition, the populations of both countries are easily manipulated by telling them how glorious and special they are. There are far more similarities than you dare imagine.

    There's a simple fix for your predicament - never use the word "traitor" ever again. It describes a state of fevered flag-waving tribalism which allows your own government to blind you and switch off your critical thinking. The people in power are not better than you or anyone else, they are just ..... the people in power. Your country is not better than other countries, it's just .... the place where you were born. Your rulers deserve no loyalty, no special breaks. They are corrupt and untrustworthy to the core, they need to be watched constantly lest they abuse the powers they were temporarily granted for some purpose or another. You cannot be a traitor to such people, the concept simply has no meaning.

    Once you get into this mentality, your recollection of historical events will probably improve.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bossk538 (1682744) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:49PM (#46781587)

    That's presuming that either Snowden intended to help Putin all along, or that he realized that his safety is not guaranteed, no matter what the US says. Either way, the way the US handled his flight was nothing short of incompetent and disgraceful.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @02:06PM (#46781757)

    What the fuck do you milquetoast standard-bearers of pusillanimity expect him to do? He is the bravest person to come out of the post-Cold War Western intelligence community and you're whining because he doesn't also welcome a permanent end to what remains of his freedom? There is no god, homez. He's already done more for civilisation than most of us, and if he needs to perform in a silly interview at nobody's expense to preserve what he has left of his life, so be it.

    Anyway, I'm all for the balance of power. The best antidote to an abusive US empire is an abusive Sov^WRussian empire.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @02:24PM (#46781961) Homepage

    What say he's a buddy of them?

    "Kid" wants to stay alive / not be imprisoned and doomed for life.
    (And risked it all to tell everyone what he knew, and you people are trash-talking him for that.)

    Yay, how awful of him!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @02:31PM (#46782017)

    I hate to say it (as I am American), but I respect Putin's position to be much more truthful than the West's.

    Ukraine has always been on a teeter totter between Russia and Europe, and which way it leans depends on a lot of things. Unfortunately, one key issue is that Ukraine is critical to Russian security, as most of the food eaten by Russians is produced there, and the border between Russia and Ukraine is open, making it easy to trade with (so they're relatively friendly) and easy to invade by (so there's always some tension). Ukraine has always been a very divided country; those in the East favor Russian integration and have a heavy Russian demographic; those in the West favor European integration and are a different slavic ethnicity. Most of the production and resources is in the East.

    In 2004, a Russian leaning government is protested against and overthrown by a questionably popular series of protets, what was called the Orange Revolution; many of these protest groups received backing from Western governments and was seen by Russia as a critical threat. By 2010, Ukraine is a mess, and the government is outvoted and in comes Victor Yanukovich, a Russian leaning Ukrainian. This was mainly seen as a Russian influenced overthrow of the Western leaning government, but to be fair Ukraine had suffered economically.

    In 2013 in November, Yanukovich rejects an economic treaty with the European Union. This sparked off the protests. Many protest groups were allegedly supported by Western governments, while it's hard to pin down if it's true the key point is the Russians believe that they were, and this was again seen as an existential threat. Things escalate to violence, Yanukovich's family and person are threatened, and several large defections from the army and police to the protesters make Yanukovich not trust any of his personal security, so he flees to Russia. He apparently resigns, but then says he was coerced and never intended to do so.

    Then, and this is key, a new government, unelected by the Ukrainian people, is formed by an agreement led by the amassadors from France, Germany, and the US. The President's powers are stripped from him by Parliament in contrast to the Ukrainian Constitution. The protesters are integrated into a new Ukrainian National Guard. Those three things are facts. From Russia and Putin's perspective, this is a foreign coup that overthrew a constitutionally elected government with a military created and sponsored by foreign money. Considering the ethnic Russians living in Crimea and eastern Ukraine are not being represented and are Russian leaning, they are arguably at risk, and the current governing body, being created via an unconstitutional process run by foreign powers is entirely illegitimate. Considering Ukraine's importance to Russian security, this is an existential threat to Russia itself.

    While you can argue Russia's own involvement and lack of truthiness, the fact of how the protests evolved and how the current Ukrainian governing body was formed, their perspective is not without merit and the facts on the ground support that argument much more than the Western version of the story.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @02:43PM (#46782155)

    So you would rather that he should have stayed to be broken like Manning?

  • by wired_parrot (768394) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:00PM (#46782315)

    I don't understand the hatred towards Snowden for asking an important question regarding surveillance. From the linked article his question:

    "So I'd like to ask you, does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals? And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies, rather than subjects, under surveillance?"

    It is a perfectly valid question which needs to be asked to all world leaders. While Putin's answer can certainly be seen as pure political spin, the question itself is a legitimate and forceful question to be posed. And by asking it, it forced Putin to provide an answer through which he can be measured against. He has basically said in nationwide tv that if they did have a mass surveillance system, the state would be breaking the law. This public statement can now be used to hold him accountable should evidence surface proving him as lying.

    I would also argue that the question is a far more direct one regarding surveillance than any that has been posed to Obama. And unlike Putin, Obama insists such a surveillance program is legal and necessary. One cannot reform the system without admitting the problem first. Were Obama to give the same answer as Putin to that question, the repercussions would be enormous, as it places a moral and legal standard on the role of surveillance in our society from the chief executive of the nation itself.

  • Re:Old proverb (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:01PM (#46782329)

    This. Everyone sane in Europe knows that we can count on the US in cases like this. Yet we stand there doing absolutely nothing. Just like Yugoslavia.

    This is not a US matter. It is a European problem, and Europe needs to wake up.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:20PM (#46782463)

    You know, when I first saw this I though "Oh God..." but after I had a few minutes to think about it, I came to the conclusion: I, nor anyone else here on slashdot, will ever do anything in our lifetimes as significant as what Edward Snowden did last year. And now he's in a very precarious situation. I suspect he could be used as a bargaining chip by Russia. So whatever he has to say to stay alive in the near future is ok with me. I'll not fault the guy. He already did his good deed for this lifetime.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ComputersKai (3499237) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @04:48PM (#46783155)
    If you look at the history of whistleblowers, many end up getting tried for espionage and treason by the country whose secrets they leaked, no matter how noble the cause. Just look at the guy who revealed the abuses at Guantanamo; the U.S. government didn't exactly welcome him with open arms.
  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday April 17, 2014 @04:53PM (#46783201) Journal

    You guys just assume as a fact that Russia is worse than US. I don't think that is true anymore.

    I'm guessing you're heterosexual then?

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:22PM (#46783915)

    Espionage is never legitimate unless you consider it acceptable for others to do it to you in the manner in which you do it to them. The hypocrisy of the NSA, CIA, GCHQ, BND, Mossad, FSB, etc. is grossly palpable. Everyone seems to do it, yet it's "shame on you" if anyone does it them. Pulling down the curtains was an important demonstration of collective, well deserved shame.

    This crap belongs in movies and video games, not the real world. The citizenry of the world's nations should not be the game pieces used in the amusement and distraction of political and military rulers.

  • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MadMartigan2001 (766552) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:31PM (#46783975)
    That's right damit! No matter how bad the government is acting it is YOUR DUTY as an AMERICAN to shut-up and do what you are told. Even if you think the government is subverting the constitution (as Snowden did) you should just keep your mouth shut and do the patriotic thing and sing the national anthem louder than anyone around you. And if by some crazy reason (morality) you wish to expose the corrupt government, by no means should you try and protect yourself from said corrupt government. No siree, just bend over and take it on your way to Guantanamo. That will make it much easier for the corrupt government to label you as a terrorist and keep you shut-up, since you did not have the patriotic disposition to shut yourself up. When will these unpatriotic whistle blowers realize that the government is only trying to protect the great people of this country from communist whistle blowers. Geeeezz

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