Just yesterday, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asked Russian President Vladimir Putin if his country was involved in the same sort of mass surveillance as the United States. According to Putin, Russia doesn’t have the funds or technology to engage in the same sort of dragnet surveillance as the National Security Agency (NSA.)
Although it is probably true that Russia isn’t spying on the entire world in the same way as the NSA is, Snowden doesn’t appear to be entirely happy with the outcome of his question.
Members of the mainstream media put down Snowden yesterday by insinuating that he chose to ask the question in order to make Putin look better than US President Barack Obama. However, in an article published on The Guardian, Snowden says he “questioned the Russian president live on TV to get his answer on the record, not to whitewash him.”
In his article, Snowden compares Putin’s seemingly scripted and short answer to the denials originally put forth by the NSA and Obama. Given what people do know about Russia, it is obvious that the country does participate in spying and only in size and scope does it differ from the US. In fact, Putin has even admitted that he is envious of how massive the NSA’s spy machine is.
Not only was Snowden not satisfied with the fluff answer that Putin provided, he was also angry with the US media for practically suggesting that he was “in bed” with the Russian President.
So why all the criticism? I expected that some would object to my participation in an annual forum that is largely comprised of softball questions to a leader unaccustomed to being challenged. But to me, the rare opportunity to lift a taboo on discussion of state surveillance before an audience that primarily views state media outweighed that risk. Moreover, I hoped that Putin’s answer – whatever it was – would provide opportunities for serious journalists and civil society to push the discussion further. – Snowden
Question – Is it wrong of the US media to put down Snowden for things like this?
Summary: Edward Snowden says that he isn’t satisfied with Putin’s answer regarding mass surveillance. Snowden is also surprised that the US media criticized him for asking the question.
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