It would seem that former Communist Party member and current Russian President Vladmir Putin may understand more about the 4th amendment than our own president. Yesterday Putin visited Russia Today (RT) and offered some remarks about Barack Obama and the policies of the NSA surveillance program in the United States.
But Putin pointed out that “the question is how well those security agencies are controlled by the public.”
“I can tell you that, at least in Russia, you cannot just go and tap into someone’s phone conversation without a warrant issued by court,” Putin said answering the question of RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.
“That’s more or less the way a civilized society should go about fighting terrorism with modern-day technology. As long as it is exercised within the boundaries of the law that regulates intelligence activities, it’s alright. But if it’s unlawful, then it’s bad.”
Commenting on Obama’s statement that “You can’t have 100 per cent security and 100 per cent privacy,” Putin disagreed, saying it is possible if done within the law.
Earlier on Tuesday, Putin’s press-secretary Dmitry Peskov told to a newspaper that Russia could consider the possibility of granting political asylum to 29-year-old Edward Snowden, if such a request is made. The ex-CIA worker is behind one of the biggest leaks of our time as he disclosed the existence of PRISM, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive data-mining surveillance program, to The Guardian last week.
In regard to the possibility of asylum for Edward Snowden, The Guardian reports:
Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, in the Kremlin’s latest move to woo critics of the west.
Snowden fled the United States before leaking the details of a top-secret US surveillance programme to the Guardian this month. He is currently believed to be in Hong Kong, but has reportedly changed hotels to keep his location secret.
Fearing US retaliation, Snowden said at the weekend that “my predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values“, citing Iceland as an example. He defended his decision to flee to Hong Kong by citing its relative freedom compared with mainland China.
Snowden is not known to have made any asylum requests, including to Russia. Yet speaking to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, said: “If such an appeal is given, it will be considered. We’ll act according to facts.”
Peskov’s comments were widely carried by the Russian media, which have largely ignored Snowden’s revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) was secretly empowered with wide-reaching authority to collect information from the US mobile provider Verizon and to snoop on emails and internet communications via a data-mining programme called Prism. Russia’s feared security services are widely believed to maintain similar powers.
Peskov’s comments on potential asylum opened the floodgates on support for Snowden. Robert Shlegel, an influential MP with the ruling United Russia party, said: “That would be a good idea.”
Alexey Pushkov, head of the Duma’s international affairs committee and a vocal US critic, said on Twitter: “By promising asylum to Snowden, Moscow has taken upon itself the protection of those persecuted for political reasons. There will be hysterics in the US. They only recognise this right for themselves.”
He continued: “Listening to telephones and tracking the internet, the US special services broke the laws of their country. In this case, Snowden, like Assange, is a human rights activist.”
We have to look at these things with a clear mind. Is Vladmir Putin correct in his remarks? I believe he is.
I also understand that value that Russia has traditionally placed on propaganda and we must understand the possible political motivation behind such remarks.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Russia may in fact offer refuge to Edward Snowden if the opportunity presents itself.
My fear is that Snowden may not live long enough to take advantage of such an offer. Ron Paul made a similar suggestion Tuesday, in an interview with Fox Business News, stating, “I’m worried somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile.”
I am not afraid of a drone strike falling on Edward Snowden as much as him disappearing and never showing up again. I don’t think our government relishes a situation for this to be a high-profile execution, but that is just my opinion.
Sometimes people disappear and never show up again. My fear is that Snowden will at some point be labeled as a fugitive and the American public will not realize that he is actually dead.
We have to remember that this is an Administration that is well-known for its coincidental deaths.