Monday, 2 July 2018

Snowden calls Russian government 'corrupt'!

'It’s a beautiful country' but 'the government is the problem', says former whistleblower as the country continues to provide safe haven from US arrest

Edward Snowden, who fled to Russia after releasing thousands of documents from the US National Security Agency, has suggested his current homeland's government is “corrupt in many ways”.

The ex-IT contractor and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) worker, said the country's citizen's were warm and clever but he "strongly" disagreed with the policies of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“I think the public feels disempowered. Russians are not naive, they know that state TV is unreliable. The Russian government is corrupt in many ways, that’s something the Russian people realise," the 35-year-old told German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

“Russian people are warm, they are clever. It’s a beautiful country. Their government is the problem not the people.”

Mr Snowden was granted asylum in Russia after his flight from the US when he made public the NSA's widespread undeclared surveillance in 2013. He faces three charges under the Espionage Act in his homeland, each of which carry a minimum of 10 years in jail.

Edward Snowden speaks via video link during a conference at University of Buenos Aires Law School, Argentina, November 14, 2016 ( REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci )
He has been granted permission to stay in Russia until 2020.

Asked by the Suddeutsche Zeitung whether his comments could put him in danger by angering Mr Putin, Mr Snowden said: “There’s no question, it’s a risk. Maybe they don’t care, right? Because I don’t speak Russian.

“And I am literally a former CIA agent, so it’s very easy for them to discredit my political opinions as those of an American CIA agent in Russia.”

Last year Mr Putin said he believed Mr Snowden had been wrong to leak spy secrets, but was not a traitor – a charge that had been levelled at him inside his own country.

“He did not betray the interests of his country, nor did he transfer any information to any other country that would damage his own people,” the Russian president said.

In 2014, now-US president Donald Trump said Mr Snowden “would have been executed” in a past era “when our country was respected and strong”.

Mr Trump and Mr Putin are due to meet in July in a third country.

(Source: The Independent)

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