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Russia Considers Sending Snowden Back To US As a 'Gift' To Trump (nbcnews.com) 294

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: U.S. intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a "gift" to President Donald Trump -- who has called the NSA leaker a "spy" and a "traitor" who deserves to be executed. That's according to a senior U.S. official who has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and who says a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to "curry favor" with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration. Snowden's ACLU lawyer, Ben Wizner, told NBC News they are unaware of any plans that would send him back to the United States. "Team Snowden has received no such signals and has no new reason for concern," Wizner said. Former deputy national security adviser Juan Zarate urged the Trump administration to be cautious in accepting any Snowden offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House had no comment, but the Justice Department told NBC News it would welcome the return of Snowden, who currently faces federal charges that carry a minimum of 30 years in prison. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said talk about returning Snowden is "nonsense." If he were returned to American soil, Snowden -- a divisive figure in America who is seen by some as a hero and others as treasonous -- would face an administration that has condemned him in the strongest terms.
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Russia Considers Sending Snowden Back To US As a 'Gift' To Trump

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  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @08:08PM (#53843313)
    But at least your tech jobs will be protected by Trump's H-1B visa clampdown, right? Hope you can sleep well at night.
    • by SQL Error ( 16383 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @08:18PM (#53843351)

      i sleep like a baby.

      That is, I wake up every couple of hours screaming.

      • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Friday February 10, 2017 @09:07PM (#53843605)

        Meanwhile, Julian Assage sits ignored in the Ecuadorian Embassy pouting: "What about me? What about MEEEEEEEEEE!"

      • That was George H. W. Bush's line after he lost the 1992 election.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 10, 2017 @10:29PM (#53843951)

        You're looking at Snowden, but there will be a quid-pro-quo deal, in exchange Trump will lift sanctions against Russia as fake reward for sending over Snowden. The real purpose here is to have an excuse to lift sanctions for Trump to sell to the GOP, not for Snowden.

        Once again, please be clear here, Trump did a deal with Putin and it's worth more to Putin that Trump blocking Cyber security bills, attacking NATO, and removing the military from the National Security Council. Putin will get trade sanctions lifted and everything else besides in exchange Trump will get hacking help in the next election.

        Can I remind you of some of my other predictions.... namely 6 eyes, Russia added to 5 eyes on excuse of fighting ISIS? Or Iran attacked to force them over to Russia, giving Russia effective control of the region.... that one is also in progress.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Putin and his colleges completely and totally outsmarted greed driven US defence industries and the scam they were pushing. The planned for the sanctions and for Russia they worked fantastically. Basically the Russian government was able to cut off supply of imported product whilst continuing to export energy, without the Russian public complaining about the lack of European goods. In that time Russians were weaned off imported product and became accustomed to locally produced product and development of loc

          • Not quite true. The sanctioned products still enter the Russian market - via Belarus, where the products get relabeled as local produce and then resold to Russia at a premium.

          • Putin and his colleges

            He has more in common with Trump every day.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          It's not just a trade. Putin has dirt on Trump. Any exchange is just for show, to help Trump save face and sell it, not because he is a great negotiator.

    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @08:19PM (#53843355) Journal
      Would Snowden have fared any better with the Obama administration? Obama was somewhat more sympathetic towards Snowden, at least in public, but he weaseled out of granting him a pardon (saying he "can't") while he did commute Manning's sentence.
      • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @08:53PM (#53843545)
        Russia would have never offered Snowden to Obama. In fact the entire reason Putin took Snowden in was to embarrass Obama.
        • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @09:25PM (#53843699) Journal
          That makes sense. But the fact that Putin might extradite Snowden to cosy up to Trump is hardly something you can blame Trump for directly, much less his voters.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            That makes sense. But the fact that Putin might extradite Snowden to cosy up to Trump is hardly something you can blame Trump for directly, much less his voters.

            True, but it does illustrate that the man Trump is determined to say nothing bad about and had even asked for support from in the form of hacking, is not a particularly honorable man, but then we already knew that.

            As far as Snowden being a coward ( a few posts down), well he did knowingly trash his life for a cause. Even if you don't think what he did was right, that took a some of bravery. It is not as if Russia was his first choice. He simply didn't have a better one. Still, if he comes back he will h

        • by Anonymous Bullard ( 62082 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @05:04AM (#53845125) Homepage

          In fact the entire reason Putin took Snowden in was to embarrass Obama.

          And the entire reason Edward Snowden was stranded in Russia against his will was because the US aggressively cut off all other escape routes and invalidated his passport.

          He chose to risk his freedom and even his life to reveal illegal and arguably unpatriotic behaviour by the US "intelligence" agencies, but he never chose to become a pawn in Putin's, and now Trump's, game of self-aggrandizement.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            I'm sure Snowden must have an escape plan in place for situations like this. No way he hasn't been planning it over the years, with help from supporters and Wikileaks staff.

      • by whit3 ( 318913 )

        Would Snowden have fared any better with the Obama administration?

        That's irrelevant, of course. Only a court can decide.

        Recall, historically Aaron Burr was thought to be a traitor by Thomas Jefferson; there was a trial, and a not guilty verdict under justice John Marshall.

        Later, Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederate States of America...) was likewise in disfavor, but was never convicted (in fact, though apprehended, was never tried).

        That's because the Constitution holds that a crime must b

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        Would Snowden have fared any better with the Obama administration?

        No, because he made the NSA a global laughing stock and they'll push hard on any President who can get him.

      • but he weaseled out of granting him a pardon (saying he "can't") while he did commute Manning's sentence

        A pardon and a commute are two different things. That's like saying, I couldn't book you a one off chartered flight to the Cayman islands, but I did get you an economy class seat on a discount airline that was going there anyway.

        Manning served the majority of her sentence (before parole eligibility which was only 8 years). Obama stated specifically that there was no intention to parole Manning and that the sentence was commuted due to the sentence being disproportionate to comparable crimes.

        Snowden isn't in

    • Obama wanted him prosecuted as well.

      • Today I learned prosecuted = executed.
        • by geek ( 5680 )

          Today I learned prosecuted = executed.

          Being prosecuted for treason = execution. You're just splitting hairs. At least Trump states it up front, Obama couldn't say what he meant if his life depended on it.

          • Leaving aside the fact that prosecuted for treason doesn't necessarily mean executed, I don't recall Obama ever calling what Snowden did "Treason". Given Manning wasn't, there's little or no reason to suppose the Obama regime would have charged him with treason, still less executed.
          • Being prosecuted for treason = execution.

            No it doesn't. Do some googling before you make yourself look stupid next time.

    • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @08:34PM (#53843441)

      1) It's possible to feel that Trump is right on some issues like the H-1Bs but still wrong on others and/or a raging asshole.

      2) Jailed? If he's lucky. Trump has in the past implied Snowden should be executed, and his CIA director has explicitly said as much.

      3) Don't make this partisan; Obama had plenty of opportunity to do the right thing. He didn't.

      • How did what I wrote make this partisan?
      • I'd say 1) is a perfect time to mention even a broken clock is right two times a day.
        • Not to mention that Trump's position on H-1B visas is for the wrong reason. It's based in xenophobia, nationalism, and racism.

      • Don't make this partisan; Obama had plenty of opportunity to do the right thing

        What you mean to say is that Obama had plenty of opportunity to do what you think is right. That and "the right thing" are not the same. Also "right" depends entirely on the eye of the beholder.

    • Well to be fair, if Clinton were president she would probably just "drone this guy" anyways.

    • Totally remove Snowden from the argument and there is nothing wrong with any US President putting the US native workforce ahead of foreign workers. And complain all you want about Trump, and there is a lot to complain about, there is nothing wrong with any US President putting US interests ahead of any other countries.

      And how can anyone be surprised that Russia is more than willing to put Snowden on a plane back to the US to cultivate favor with the US government? In our cynical world that is just politics

    • I'm just waiting to see Putin in a frilly white dress singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President".
  • "Da, tvarish Trump, we are through with him now. Is for your amusement now."
  • That said, I should add that the USA isn't like those other countries that do things outside the law.

    Snowden should rest assured that all will be just fine.

    I must add that sources like these remind me of events leading to how USA handled matters related to Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction."

    We all know how that went, don't we?

  • Need I say more?
    • Nah. It's Snowden's own decision. It turned out that the Russian political asylum health insurance does not cover the gender change surgery.

  • This was so obvious even before the enthronement ceremony that I'm shocked even Slashdot regards it as news. (I'm being told you Americans prefer the obscure terminology "inauguration" for some silly reason?)

    Snowden was merely a target of opportunity that Putin seized upon to embarrass that Obama fellow. Apparently still regarded him as some sort of worthy adversary or some such. Now that America's democracy has been hoisted upon its own petards, Snowden has certainly outlived his usefulness.

    Then again, per

  • US Disinformation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @08:39PM (#53843465)

    This doesn't pass the smell test.

    One thing that the Russians (and, for that matter, the Americans) understand well is protecting people who turn to their side. If the Russians send Snowden back, it will be a long time before they get another actual defector* to come out of the cold.

    * Snowden is not a defector.

    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @08:52PM (#53843537)
      Correct, you don't just burn an asset* for no reason. You do it because it gains you an advantage, such as to protect a much bigger asset - such as the suggestions that this is meant to distract from scandals about pro-Russian influence in Trump's advisors. It becomes a cost-benefit analysis of whether they think what they get out of it is worth the questions it raises in the minds of future defectors/spies/etc.

      http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/10/... [cnn.com]
      http://www.vox.com/world/2017/... [vox.com]

      *Regardless of what we think of Snowden or his motives or his actions, this is how Putin/Russian intelligence will look at him.
      • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @01:11AM (#53844589)

        And fail. You protect a source at all cost as long as it does not turn on you or does something obviously stupid. Because if you do not, you will lose all your other sources and will not get any new ones. Spycraft 101. There is no advantage great enough to outweigh that.

    • by Kagato ( 116051 )

      There's no reason to turn him over right away. Wait until the US has some Russian Spies then do a swap. Snowden was always going to get fucked by the Russians. And frankly he was an idiot for trying to go to Cuba via Russia. The state department was even dumber revoking his passport. You see flights to Cuba from Moscow run directly over the United States East Coast. They would have demanded the flight land and pulled him off the flight.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      It might be that the Russians think Snowden has more info he hasn't shared with them. So far the stuff they got was mostly just about illegal monitoring that was embarrassing but not all that harmful. Maybe they're trying to scare him into spilling more info. If he was a real spy there's no way they could give him back as that would preclude anyone else running to them. However, if he's just a hero trying to stop the evil NSA from illegal acts then they lose nothing by tossing him back.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Very much this. And, unlike the US, the Russians know how to handle human intelligence sources and make good use of them. It is unlikely though that they got anything from Snowden, and they may not even have tried. Snowden copied far too much data to know even a tiny fraction of it himself and he did not have it with him when he stranded in Russia.

      Of course, the "alternate facts" crowd will create any amount of "fake news" to obscure these rather obvious facts as they do not fit their fantasy-world.

  • I feel confident in my hunch that president Trump isn't versed in ancient literature, so I hope someone reminds him of Virgil's quote:

    "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts"

    Anything Russia offers up as a gift should be viewed with some strong skepticism. Back during the late cold war, there was an excessive amount of anti-soviet paranoia. Now, it seems that there isn't enough...
  • FAKE NEWS (Score:2, Informative)

    by rholtzjr ( 928771 )
    Already been confirmed as fake news [nbcnews.com]. Look where it is coming from. His residency has already been extended to the year 2020. And spokespeople for Russia have already stated "Nonsense"
    • Re:FAKE NEWS (Score:4, Informative)

      by skam240 ( 789197 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @09:47PM (#53843777)

      Where in that linked to article does it "confirm" that this is fake news? Why would Russian spokesmen validate something Russia is only considering?

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @10:05PM (#53843863)

    If they do this, it wouldn't be to "curry favor" with Trump, it would be a move to further destabilize the US. As a result of multiple factors (including Russian interference) we have a the most unpopular president in a century who is extremely divisive. Returning Snowden would be a move to stoke those flames and cause more unrest. There are many reasons for doing this but ultimately, a less stable US is better for their own nation.

    • Good call. Reminiscent of the time Germany let Lenin out of jail and sent him back to Russia, just to mess with the country. What could have gone wrong?
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Russia first, natch.

      This is the reality of the alpha male fantasy bullshit. You don't come out on top, everyone else just fucks you over. Cooperation and diplomacy are always the better option.

    • If they do this, it wouldn't be to "curry favor" with Trump, it would be a move to further destabilize the US.

      The most insightful statement in this discussion.

      Snowden is not an "asset", as he was never a spy for Russia. By now Russian intelligence has long since squeezed any information of value out of Snowden. There's hardly any need for Putin to keep him in Russia, and his value as a propaganda asset is fading.

      But the impact of the protests over Trump are not lost on Putin. Returning Snowden without as

  • A bullshit story. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jack Zombie ( 637548 )

    The two sources are both from the US intelligence -- the same intelligence community that sold us the debunked "Russia hacked the US election" story. The same intelligence community that The Intercept reports as being increasingly powerful political actors and manipulators in the US, and that The Intercept reported as having an interest in undermining the democratically-elected Trump administration, and by extension the democratic process itself.

    All the other parties involved -- the US government, the Russi

    • You belong on Infowars where you and the other crazies can stroke each other off.

      • If you dont think the MSM is pushing a narrative and that the US intelligence agencies are the ones that handed them that narrative, then you are the crazy one.
  • Would much rather see him stuck in Russia forever than in a jail cell.

    • Would much rather see him stuck in Russia forever than in a jail cell.

      Trump is an enemy of the US and you're willfully aiding him. You're more a traitor than Snowden ever was.

  • I just hope they freeze Snowden in carbonite and ship him by bounty hunter.
  • Snowden == Ultra Ball.

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @08:39AM (#53845453)

    and the games they play.

    Let's put this story out there and see if we can get him to panic and / or introduce some suspicion to his relationship with the Russian government.

    If I were Team Snowden, I would respond with dusting off another, yet to be released, bombshell about what potentially illegal activities the NSA has been up to.

  • The rule on presidential gifts says that if the gift is worth more than something like $300, it has to go into the National Archive.

    Boy... I hope that they poke some air holes in the box that they store him in.

  • I cannot imagine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Max_W ( 812974 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @02:36PM (#53846503)
    Edward being handed over to the US authorities. I think it would cause the third Russian revolution, a kind of Storming of the Bastille.

    Russian society gave to the world such great [real] freedom thinkers as Mikhail Bakunin, who has got quite a few followers nowadays.

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