Snowden’s Russia Connection Getting To Be a Real Thing

Snowden evidently lived at the Russian consulate while in Hong Kong. If this is accurate, it lends more validity to the notion that he’s being manipulated or controlled by Russia and Wikileaks. It certainly vindicates accusations that he defected.

MOSCOW — Before American fugitive Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow in June — an arrival that Russian officials have said caught them by surprise — he spent several days living at the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong, a Moscow newspaper reported Monday.

The article in Kommersant, based on accounts from several unnamed sources, did not state clearly when Snowden decided to seek Russian help in leaving Hong Kong, where he was in hiding in order to evade arrest by U.S. authorities on charges that he leaked top-secret documents about U.S. surveillance programs.

A man runs up the ‘gostra’, a pole covered in grease, during the religious feast of St Julian, patron of the town of St Julian’s, outside Valletta August 25, 2013. In the traditional ‘gostra’, a game stretching back to the Middle Ages, young men, women and children have to make their way to the top and try to uproot one of the flags to win prizes. From May to September in Malta, there is hardly any weekend when a town or a village is not celebrating the feast of its patron saint or other saints revered in different churches.

The disclosure of the documents brought worldwide scrutiny of U.S. spying efforts and triggered a vigorous debate in Congress over whether and under what circumstances the government should gather data on phone calls and e-mails.

Snowden arrived in Moscow on June 23 and spent more than a month stranded at Sheremetyevo International Airport, with his U.S. passport revoked and Washington urging other countries not to accept him.

(h/t DUI Attorney David Benowitz)
  • muselet

    This is a bit of a cheap shot, but Charlie Pierce once again insisted today:

    For the benefit of anyone for whom reading is perhaps not fundamental, Glenn Greenwald’s personality, and the peripatetic globe-trotting of Edward Snowden, are not the story here. If you decide to make them the story, then you are taking yourself off the real story, and that’s your fault, not Greenwald’s or Snowden’s.

    (If you’re curious, Pierce’s snide initial reference is to this piece from Booman Tribune.)

    I wonder if Pierce thinks reports of Edward Snowden was playing house with the Russians while he was in Hong Kong is relevant to “the real story”?


    • blackdaug

      This story has been over his head from day one. IT is not his forte, and he apparently was not familiar with GG’s previous work.
      Early on, he made few faint attempts to point out the more farcical nature of a reporter and his source threatening blackmail against the U.S. government, but his own commenters slapped him back in line, and he folded like a cheap suit.
      When a reporter lies, repeatedly, in an effort to elevate the story to levels it does not deserve, the reporter becomes the story.
      I guess an Esquire paycheck is worth your soul.

      • muselet

        The sad thing is that the story should be about the limits of surveillance, but Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have ensured that will never happen.

        And my browser settings somehow prevent me from seeing the comments at Esquire, so I was blissfully ignorant of the backstory. Thanks for enlightening me.


    • formerlywhatithink

      I’ll take your extra word since I seem to leave out when I’m typing.

    • FlipYrWhig

      If you’re a snarky media critic skeptical of things that under-credentialed experts tell you, it seems like Glenn Greenwald ought to be one of your favorite playthings. But no, I forgot, he’s not The Real Story. Well, to that I say, there are two real stories: surveillance/privacy and the shady storytelling of an important media figure.

    • Mike Huben

      Pierce has the right of it. You guys are acting just like the right-wing noise machine, carelessly tossing around all sorts of accusational words. It’s McCarthyite with the one exception that you’re not calling him a communist.

      Tom Tomorrow has your measure:


      • muselet

        For the benefit of those in the cheap seats, I repeat myself:

        The sad thing is that the story should be about the limits of surveillance, but Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have ensured that will never happen.

        Yes, I’m surprised Snowden and Greenwald can go on in the face of such defamation, and Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy would have been rendered slack-jawed in awe and admiration by my viciousness.

        If Snowden and Greenwald had wanted this story to be about surveillance, it would have been simple to do so and we would be having a discussion about surveillance. Snowden and Greenwald chose not to do so, and so we are having arguments about the two of them.


        (Oh, and as for “carelessly tossing around all sorts of accusational words”? Pot, kettle, black.)


  • Vipsanius

    Snowden reminds me of Phillip Agee.

  • Schneibster

    Errrr, what’s the part in the middle about the “gostra?”

    Did you have a cut-n-paste accident?

  • Chris Carr

    I like the David Lynch quality to this article. :)

  • formerlywhatithink

    From the linked article:

    The article implies that Snowden’s decision to seek Russian help came after he was joined in Hong Kong by Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks staff member who became his adviser and later flew to Moscow with him.

    This, coupled with Assanges word salads about Snowden, leads me to believe that he was seduced away from Greenwald by Wikileaks. Either that or Greenwald got what he wanted out of Snowden and cut him loose causing Snowden to find another benefactor. Whatever the case may be, I think it’s pretty clear that Russia is an active player in all this and not the reluctant amnesty provider that they try to makes themselves appear to be.

  • trgahan

    Hrm…I once saw an interview a KGB spymaster who recruited hundreds of foreign assets during the Cold War. When asked what he looked for in an asset he said “A young, intelligent, usually male, idealist who is disaffected with their country.” He said they were the easiest to flip and proved the most loyal to their new role. Sound familiar?

    Admissions by Snowden that he took the BAH job specifically to raid intelligence documents makes me wonder what possible role other foreign intelligence agencies may have had in his actions. Also makes me wonder to what extent Wiki, Greenwald, and Snowden have been duped by people much smarter, resourceful, and meaner than they could imagine and what will happen the instant they go from being assets to liabilities.

    • drspittle

      Your point is excellent. Outside of Joshua Foust, I’m ot aware of any other journalists who are trying to put all of the pieces together and answer those questions. I know the conversation about balancing NSA powers/secrecy with privacy is important, but I think the real “story” right now is knowing the who, what, where, when and why regarding Snowden and his activities.

    • Chris Carr
  • Badgerite

    Defector. I have always thought that characterizing Snowden as a ‘whistle blower’ was ridiculous. He went abroad specifically so that he could attack whatever aspect of the US intelligence capability he wanted. The internet was birthed in America and spread throughout the world. I think he sees the international spying aspect of it as pernicious in some way. And I think he went abroad to attack America’s ability to do it. And he needed a safe perch from which to do that. Human rights and democracy be damned.

    • missliberties

      Snowden had been planning this for a long time.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      He’s a fucking coward, is what he is!

      • Lazarus Durden

        Traitor is more apt. I think we can start throwing that word around now.

  • charles hindle

    maybe he really doesn’t like some east europeans… i mean, really greasy poles ?
    be careful there are a lot of us out there, without the grease

  • Tony Lavely

    The third paragraph… Sorry, I don’t get its place in the story.

    • Norbrook

      Looks like the perils of “cut and paste a quote” from the Post.