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Edward Snowden fears for his life

Edward Snowden fears for his life

So says his Russian lawyer

The Russian lawyer for Edward Snowden says the former NSA contractor is in fear for his life and is considering additional security measures after reading perceived threats from unnamed U.S. officials recently published in a media outlet.

From Bloomberg News:

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. contractor residing in Russia under temporary asylum, is appealing to the local government for protection after receiving threats against his life, his lawyer in Moscow said.

“He has no other option but to seek protection and ask for the situation to be cleared up,” Anatoly Kucherena said by phone today. “There are worries and alarm about statements and actions on the part of some officials.”

Kucherena, who has represented Snowden’s interests in Russia since he sought refuge last July after leaking classified National Security Agency documents, pointed to reports on Buzzfeed this month that contained threats made by unidentified U.S. officials.

Reuters reported that Kucherena did not specifically name any media outlet, but that he referred to comments that were noted in the Buzzfeed post.

Without naming any media outlet, he referred to comments reported by the website BuzzFeed, which quoted a Pentagon official as saying he would love to shoot Snowden in the head.

BuzzFeed quoted a U.S. Army intelligence officer as saying the former National Security Agency contractor could be killed Cold War-style, poked with a poisoned needle while returning home from the grocery store.

Snowden’s lawyer indicated that the former NSA contractor is already protected by private security guards, but claimed this may no longer be sufficient.  He also suggested that he may push for anonymous sources who have made such comments to media outlets to be identified.

From AFP:

“Edward is treating these as real threats to his life and wellbeing,” the Russian lawyer said. “Today, it might not be enough to have private guards.”

Kucherena added that he planned to ask US authorities to look into the publications and possibly ask the media outlets to identify their sources by name.

“We think that the US government must take note of such statements,” the lawyer said.

“The people who make extremist statements do so while wearing a mask — they do not reveal their identities.

“We will ask for these people’s masks to come off. We must know who this NSA officer is, who issues orders about ways to eliminate Edward Snowden.”

The public meanwhile appears to be divided over the impact of Snowden’s leaks, according to a recent Pew Research poll, while a majority of the poll’s participants say the U.S. should pursue a criminal case against Snowden.

Overall, the public is divided about whether Edward Snowden’s leak of classified information, which brought the program to light, has served or harmed the public interest: 45% say it has served the public interest while 43% say it harmed it. Nonetheless, a 56% majority wants to see the government pursue a criminal case against Snowden, while 32% oppose this. This is little changed from June, shortly after Snowden’s first leaks of information about the program.

Snowden was charged last year with espionage and theft of government property after leaking classified documents about U.S. domestic and foreign intelligence surveillance programs to the news media.


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In case you were wondering how the democrats got those internal emails on Christie, here’s a scenerio: they could have easily obtained with a quick query in the NSA database. Just food for thought about how dangerous this system really is.

    Or the legislative committees could have obtained them by subpoena. Or the executive director of the Port Authority, in the employ of the state of New York, led by Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), might have asserted his influence.

    Semper Why in reply to imfine. | January 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Or they could have come from a FOIA request. Which is pretty much how they were obtained, according to all the news reports. What makes you think some sort of skullduggery was required?

      imfine in reply to Semper Why. | January 22, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      Got a source for that? I haven’t heard of the actual source. I just think it’s little or maybe very niave to think that people with basically the whole worlds communications copied and indexed for ready query would string thier hands about “ohh no that would violate their privacy!”. These are the same people who send the pitbulls at the irs on people and arm Mexican drug cartels to justify new gun rules and leave our ambassadors to die like dogs in the street when they have outlived their usefulness

U.S. Government to Snowden’s attorney “Yeah we’ll get right on that. Better yet, hand him over to us and we’ll protect him with thick walls of concrete.”

Snowden is charged with espionage. He gave information to the enemy. He is no hero.

Any idiot knows that our government spies on us. We also now that our government is truly inept at what it does with the intel, case in point Benghazi. The intelligence services are great. The talking heads, the recipients of intel, are not.

Our current group of talking heads didn’t even know about Snowden’s back door tricks or his contacts within the NSA.

The current regime is more worried about Tea Party Members getting out the vote than they are about jihadists and moles who steal secure information under their noses, give it to the enemy and then whine about being life-threatened.

Snowden, if American, could have handled his findings a whole different way. He has done us no favors. Now he has chosen to hide behind the skirts of the enemy.

Snowden should be in lock down for the rest of his life. In the cold.

    I vehemently disagree. Snowden is the canary in the coal mine. I don’t think any of us knew that the gubmint was storing our phone call data – and other data – without a warrant. I don’t think any of us knew the gubmint had backdoor entry into Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. I don’t think any of us knew the gubmint was vacuuming up cell and text data of practically everybody worldwide.

    In my view, Snowden is a hero deserving of the Nobel much more than 0.

      Valerie in reply to walls. | January 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

      The metadata has existed for quite some time, and it has been collected by, for example, GOOGLE and the phone companies. I know this because I can get my own phone records.

      The problem is not, and never has been, the databases. It has been how and when and why the government accesses the data.

      For example: FBI agent following up on tip that a certain teenage immigrant from the Islamist border of Russia gets a warrant and searches the database for connections to known Islamist murderers. That’s a good search.

      Another example: FBI agent searches the database for TEA Party numbers that connect to medical marijuana services in California and marijuana shops in Colorado. That’s a bad search. Notice the lack of probable cause, and lack of a warrant.

      The exclusionary rule was made for this situation. There are also big civil penalties for invasion of privacy that can and should be applied.

        Sanddog in reply to Valerie. | January 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

        I disagree. The problem absolutely IS the databases which represent a huge trove of information that the government obtained by violating the privacy of citizens.

        That the information existed and was held by private companies isn’t a problem. When I voluntarily enter into a contract with a private company for say.. cell phone service, I understand they have access to specific information about my activities. I also understand that they are not allowed to give that information to the government without a proper warrant issued by a court based on probable cause and handled with due process. Apparently, those legal protections have been replaced with “give us the information because we say so”. Oh yeah, I’ve got a big problem with that.

      The government has your all financial data via the IRS.
      The government will have all your medical data via Obamacare electronic record files.
      The government has your census data.
      The government has always been monitoring phone calls and emails for buzz words.
      The government monitors who buys firearms or prescription pills and so on and so on.

      As I said, Snowden chose the betrayer route and is trying to present himself as some kind of savior of the naive.

      The head people at Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. KNEW the gubmint had a backdoor entry into your life. Why didn’t they say anything?

      And because Snowden said something via giving aid to the enemy does not make him a hero. Doesn’t the rule of law apply to him?

      Snowden could have acted legally, perhaps using the ACLU, in a way that would have made his findings known to the public. He could then be a hero/martyr in the U.S., just as you want to see him.

      Yes, there are many, many, many people who know about the government spying on individuals.

      They gave Obama a Nobel Prize. Give Snowden one and when he accepts it, arrest him.

This is fascinating.

On the one hand, the fact that Snowden’s Russian lawyer has been reduced to issuing *public pleas* for greater protection for Snowden suggests that Snowden’s intelligence value to the Russians has been exhausted. I.e., were Snowden still of value to them, they’d already have him under lock and key in a deep, secret bunker, and there’d be no need for Snowden’s lawyer to publicly plead for more security.

On the other hand, the lawyer’s public pleas for tighter protection may *themselves* have been orchestrated by Russian intelligence agencies to fool the *American* intelligence agencies into believing that Snowden is of no further use to them.

For some reason, my gut inclines me to the 2nd hypothesis.

Snowden responds to smears in an interview with the New Yorker,

 ‘We don’t know if he had help from aliens.’ ‘You know, I have serious questions about whether he really exists.’ ”

This administration is weird. Obama is okay with sending a drone to assassinate a US citizen based on the possibility that he might be involved with a group that might commit terrorism at some point in the nebulous future. But he’s apparently not okay with splattering Snowden, a man whom we have direct evidence that stole classified information for the purposes of harming our country.

Snowden has no cause to fear for his life from this administration. But he should.

    Immolate in reply to Semper Why. | January 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    There’s no way Obama or any president puts a drone strike on someone in China or Russia. That would be a massive provocation. However, I think that Snowden should fear for his life. There are lots of guys who know how to snuff someone in Russia, and some of them will work for the highest bidder. But he’s probably safe for the time being. Guys like him, you take out after their fifteen minutes of fame are forgotten.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Semper Why. | January 22, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    How you know Eric Holder and Obama didn’t “help” in any way what Snowden did?

    Obama looking deep into Putin’s eyes:
    “I’ll have more flexibility in my second term.”

    Obama looked deep in Putin’s eyes and thought it was “LUV!”
    But he was just putin!

    Remember Eric Holder was giving military machine guns to the Mexican mobster drug cartels………….

BannedbytheGuardian | January 22, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Russia does not need to eliminate him . They just have to not renew the temporary Assylum.

Putin said he was jealous of the technological reach of the NSA etc . Russia may know more how but always knew the when & why of USA global actions – not all of which they oppose.

It appears that the rest of the world is not that surprised or even interested. America is not the ( real or imagined ) threat it was.

Snowden does not appear to have gained many friends outside of the US which at this point in time is what he needs desperately. He will have to hand over more stuff that non Americans find worthwhile.