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Putin Calls U.S. Special Forces 'Unprofessional' for Letting Snowden Slip

Published: May 25, 2014 (Issue # 1812)



  • Protesters hold masks depicting former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden during a demonstration in Berlin.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

If the U.S. special services had acted professionally, National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden would be "rotting in jail," Russian President Vladimir Putin told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Friday.

In his keynote speech at the forum, Putin also referred to Snowden as a "champion of human rights" and said the 30-year-old leaker has not shared any secret information with Russia.

Putin suggested that while handing over intelligence might have been a fair trade for Russia's provision of asylum, Snowden "is not our agent, and gave up no secrets."

Putin blamed the United States for the fact that Snowden is still in Russia. Days after leaking thousands of classified U.S. documents to journalists in Hong Kong last summer, Snowden turned up in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, from where he planned to fly on to a third country. But then, Putin said, the U.S. stepped in.

The U.S. "scared the whole world," Putin said. "Snowden arrived in the transit zone and it turned out that no-one would take him. If they hadn't terrified everyone, he would have successfully taken off, flown to some other country, they would have nabbed him in transit, and he would long ago have been 'rotting' in jail."

"But they scared everyone and he stayed in the transit zone [in Moscow]," Putin said. "And what are we supposed to do? Russia is not a country that gives up champions of human rights."

Earlier this month, Snowden's lawyer said that his client, who fled to Moscow last year after leaking the United States' intelligence-gathering programs, expects his asylum status in Russia to be renewed this June.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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