News / Europe

Invisible in Moscow, Snowden Has a Big Global Impact

In this image released by WikiLeaks Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony in Russia.
In this image released by WikiLeaks Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony in Russia.
James Brooke
Edward Snowden, Moscow’s most famous American, will shortly mark six months in Russia. So far, he has had no face to face meetings with journalists and no meetings with the general public.
 
His three meetings with outsiders have been carefully staged events with sympathetic visitors. Two blurry photos have been released that appear to show the fugitive American intelligence leaker outside a supermarket and on a Moscow bridge.
 
His lawyer Anatoly Kucherena says Snowden started a job on Nov. 1, but he will not say where. Kucherena is a member of the oversight board of the FSB, Russia’s primary domestic intelligence agency.
 
Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russia’s intelligence agencies, believes the FSB discreetly, but firmly controls Snowden’s new life in Russia.
 
“The problem is that if you are surrounded only by people from FSB, people like Kucherena, you become dependent on the information they provide to you,” said Soldatov, co-author with Irina Borogan of The New Nobility, a history of the new Russian security services.
 
Snowden won asylum here in August on the condition that he not disrupt relations between Moscow and Washington. Snowden is not giving press conferences in Moscow. He claims that he gave all his stolen computer files to sympathetic journalists before flying here on June 23.

Smart game
 
But Soldatov notes that the steady stream of spy stories furthers the foreign policy goals of the Kremlin.
 
“It’s a very smart game,” he said.
 
The revelations of U.S. spying have driven a wedge between Washington and Europe, where French and Germans are angered by extensive American spying programs. Other spying revelations have roiled relations with Mexico and Brazil, the two powerhouses of Latin America.
 
Carnegie Moscow Center Director Dmitri Trenin says world leaders are either naïve about the degree of spying that goes on, or are putting on a show of protest. In the 1980s, Trenin worked with Soviet military forces in East Germany, keeping a close eye on his American counterparts.
 
“Frankly, in this world, you spy on your adversaries, but you also collect intelligence on your allies,” Trenin said. “This is one is one of the oldest rules in the game. The United States has been in Germany since 1945, and since 1945 the U.S. government has wanted to know exactly what the German government is thinking.”
 
Trenin and others say that people have forgotten - or were unaware - of the extent of intelligence gathering.
 
“I would be very, very angry with the Russian government if the Russian government did not collect information on all countries that have relevance to Russia,” he said, referring to Russia’s military and trade allies.

'Sovereign control'
 
Soldatov fears that Snowden’s transparency crusade will backfire.

He says the revelations have strengthened the hands of authoritarian countries, like Russia and China. They seek to end the free flow of information on the worldwide web, and to build walls of “sovereign control.”
 
Speaking of Snowden and his journalist partners," Soldatov said. “They really believe that everyone should fight this greater evil, because American services, they have this global reach, they have access to the services, and to the service of companies that everybody, almost everybody on the planet tries to use - global services like email, Facebook and Twitter.”
 
Indeed, Snowden’s host country, Russia, is moving rapidly in the opposite direction, in the direction of greater government surveillance. This month, Russia is preparing a law that would give the FSB automatic access to the content of all Russian emails, instant messages, and telephone calls.

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jean White from: USA
November 08, 2013 12:34 PM
"global impact.." so did Aldrich Ames and Whittaker Chambers... disgusting perfidious scumbags...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid