Monday, July 1, 2013

Putin: Snowden can stay, but no more NSA leaks

Guadalajara -
Russian president Valdimir Putin, who said last week that former NSA security contractor Edward Snowden would not be deported or extradited to the United States, repeated the point in Moscow this morning, adding that "Snowden is not a Russian agent, nor is he working with intelligence services of this country."

"Russia doesn't hand anybody over to anybody, although on occasion we have exchanged foreign intelligence agents for our own," he said.

Putin made his comments at a Kremlin press conference during a summit of gas exporting nations.

Snowden, without a U.S. passport since the State Dept. revoked it last week, remains in an international transit zone of the Moscow airport. Putin said he can stay there - apparently indefinitely - but on the condition that he "cease his labor directed at causing damage to our American partners." It was Putin's strongest language yet on the merits of the Snowden case.

"Snowden doesn't see himself as a mere former contractor for a secret agency. He feels like he's fighting for human rights, like a dissident. So he'll have to select some country to move to, since he has no intention of abandoning his efforts. When will that occur? Unfortunately, I have no idea," added the president, who again ruled out Snowden's detention by Russia, despite U.S. demands for such.

Reporters asked Putin if Snowden might leave Moscow with one of the international delegations attending the summit. Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, who has offered to grant political asylum to Snowden, leads one of those groups. "I know nothing about that," replied Putin.

CNN News reported at mid-day that Snowden's Wikileaks team of legal advisers has now presented a formal request for asylum to the Kremlin. But immigration officials in Moscow denied that Snowden is seeking safe haven in that country, according to Interfax, a Russian news agency.

The gas summit ends tomorrow.

No word on whether Nicolás Maduro will return to Caracas with Snowden in tow

Bolivia's Evo Morales, another attendee at the summit, might also be willing to accept Snowden

July 2 - Russian immigration authorities confirmed yesterday that Snowden did file a formal asylum request Sunday night. But he withdrew it yesterday. Apparently he was dissatisfied with president Putin's plan to muzzle him. Snowden is currently seeking asylum in more than a dozen nations, of which, amazingly, Germany is one.

Femme fatale and Russian secret agent Anna Vasilyevna Kushchyenko, a/k/a Anna Chapman, was arrested in New York in 2010. She pleaded guilty to a petty offense and was deported along with several other members of her network, who were exchanged for Western spies languishing in Moscow jails. Now a part-time fashion model, Kushchyenko even got to keep her special issue Walther PP - or at least a replica of it.

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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