Infamous former NSA agent turned whistle-blower, Edward Snowden has started criticizing his Russian comrades by throwing the Kremlin’s human rights record, and hinting around that it’s officials are involved in the hacks on U.S. security networks.
Snowden said that Moscow had gone very far, in ways that are completely unnecessary, costly, and corrosive to individual and collective rights, in monitoring citizens online. He also said that last month’s leak of top secret NSA spying tools is an implicit threat to the US government, potentially by Russia.
Snowden was a former CIA contractor, and has been living in a secret location within Russian borders since he left the U.S. in 2013. He left with classified documents he obtained that details the NSA’s mass surveillance program. If he returns he faces up to 30 years in prison, for charges of espionage, and theft of government property.
Snowden’s lawyers are fighting for a pardon, that they hope comes before Obama leaves office in January. Snowden has made several attacks on his hosts in the last several months.
In July of this year, Snowden made a series of Tweets to his 2 million followers, and described exactly how he felt about Russia’s new legislation criminalizing support for terrorism on the internet.
“Mass surveillance doesn’t work. This bill will take money and liberty from every Russian without improving safety. It should not be signed. Duma member says most representatives were against Big Brother law, but voted yes, out of fear,” his tweet read.
Critics are skeptical though, claiming that Snowden’s actions are only a ploy, to keep some favor with the White House, in order to help him get the pardon he’s hoping for.
“I can’t fix the human rights situation in Russia, and realistically my priority is to fix my own country first, because that’s the one to which I owe the greatest loyalty. But though the chances are it will make no difference, maybe it’ll help. We are living through crisis in computer security, the like of which we have never seen. But until we solve the fundamental problem, which is that our policy incentives offence to a greater degree than defense, hacks will continue unpredictably and they will have increasingly larger effects and impacts,” Snowden tweeted, after Zachary Quinto called for Snowden to be allowed back into the country, and face no charges.
Quinto said that Snowden acted with “great courage” and it was “absurd” to brand him a treasonist, while he remained in exile in Russia.
“The idea of him being charged under the Espionage Act or branded as a treasonist is absurd. I think what he did is underestimated now, in a lot of ways, but I think will be looked back on with the magnitude it deserves. Hopefully he can enjoy some freedoms again in his life. He deserves that in my opinion,” Quinto said.
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