NSA leaker Edward Snowden is living under asylum in Russia escaping charges for government revelations which could be seen as treason. Since he is now dwelling in the land of the controversial Russian government – it makes sense he wanted to know about the country’s own surveillance.
During a live, state-run television broadcast he was able to go straight to the top.
Snowden quizzed Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and attempted to get clarification on whether Russia’s online spying methods are as widespread as the NSA’s. He was introduced by the show’s host as someone who “revolutionized the world by leaking the information about American secret services” and shortly after appeared via video link.
“I’ve seen little public discussion of Russia’s own involvement in the policies of mass surveillance,” he said. “So I’d like to ask you: Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?”
The response was to the point: “Mr. Snowden, you are a former agent, a spy. I used to work for the intelligence service. We are going to talk one professional language,” Putin said. “Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law, so our special forces can use this special equipment as they intercept phone calls or follow someone online, but you have to get a court’s permission to stalk a particular person.”
If correct, it is a process which the NSA is supposed to follow through the FISA court. In America, the court is compromised of 11 judges who sit for seven-year terms and are appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts without any influence from branches of government – to prevent bias.
Certain types of government requests such as wiretapping, data analysis, and other monitoring for “foreign intelligence purposes” of suspected terrorists and spies operating in the United States – must first be granted here.
Putin goes on to talk about suspected terrorists: “Of course we know that criminals and terrorists use technology for their criminal acts and of course our special services have to use technical means to respond to their crime,” he said. ”Of course we do some efforts like that, but we do not have mass-scale, uncontrollable efforts like that.”
Whether or not you believe Putin’s claims is to your own discretion; US citizens have heard similar statements time and time again but shocking new details about the NSA’s mass data collection continue to leak out on a near-daily basis.
Do you believe his claims? Let us know in the comments.