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United States Government Privacy Security

Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow? 346

An anonymous reader writes "Ex-KGB Major Boris Karpichko says that spies from Russia's SVR intelligence service, posing as diplomats in Hong Kong, convinced Snowden to fly to Moscow last June. 'It was a trick and he fell for it,' Karpichko, who reached the rank of Major as a member of the KGB's prestigious Second Directorate while specializing in counter-intelligence, told Nelson. 'Now the Russians are extracting all the intelligence he possesses.'"
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Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

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  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:02AM (#47194241)

    Is there any evidence at all that he had contact with Russia prior to ending up there? As far as I know, there isn't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:16AM (#47194375)

    According to Snowden, he destroyed all the files once he successfully handed them off to Greenwald. In which case, there's no intelligence to steal except his personal knowledge.

    Lest you think he didn't destroy them properly enough, he apparently gave lessons to other intelligence officials on counter measures. So he would be well versed in how to secure and destroy data.

    Granted, maybe Snowden is lying. But we have no evidence of his lying. Everything he has said so far has been either corroborated by the government or met with silence. And in some cases, both; for example, he always said that he used proper whistleblowing channels, and the government said they had no knowledge of this. Then more recently the government corroborated one of the instances he claims. I think it's fair to say that the government is either not telling us what it knows, or is just incompetent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:19AM (#47194393)

    There are plenty of better options that would have been available to him

    Erm... it's like people didn't pay attention at all. Governments forced planes to land on the mere suspicion that Snowden might've been riding on them. Multiple countries denied his requests for asylum. Flying around a lot would have endangered him even further.

  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:31AM (#47194479) Homepage Journal

    He was in Hong Kong, not in the "PRC". Document yourself instead of spouting nonsense.

    And he knew the FSB was going to be interested in him, he was just hoping to leave Russia ASAP to go to South America. The Obama administration revoked his passport, stranding him in Russia. Furthermore, I believe that most of what Snowden gave to Greenwald, the FSB/Russian intelligence knew already: NSA, like many other US agencies have had its share of moles [].

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:46AM (#47194597) Homepage

    Whistleblowers don't just release things that are illegal. Lots of really evil behavior is "legal". That doesn't mean it's right, or that people will support it when they find out about it. Need I remind you about the FISA Amendments Act of 2008? That made lots of exciting things legal...

  • Re:Sorta plausible (Score:5, Informative)

    by cultiv8 ( 1660093 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:57AM (#47194685) Homepage
    No, it's not plausible, this is another example of the US gov't trying to discredit Snowden. Here are some facts:

    Based on the limited google search I did, and this article [] sums nicely, it seems more like Russia was monitoring Snowden as early as 2007 and then this Boris guy made some pretty outlandish claims about the monitoring.

  • by mpercy ( 1085347 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:51AM (#47195021)

    I also consider myself to be a sane citizen. While I am grateful that the NSA's metadata collection activities were exposed, Snowden did much more than that. If he'd been some low-level NSA worker who stumbled on the NSA's meta-data collection operations in the US in the normal course of duty and felt compelled to blow the whistle and stand up to take the consequences...well, that'd be one thing. As it looks now, he's not much more than a deliberate spy who knowingly committed espionage with a "good reason" who lied, stole data, and fled prosecution, much like Jonathon Pollard (q.v. [], Pollard sold classified data to Israel because he didn't think it was right to withhold intelligence information from our ally).

    Saw this in Slate magazine of all places, not exactly a right-wing publication:

    It is true that Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens—far vaster than any outsider had suspected, in some cases vaster than the agency’s overseers on the secret FISA court had permitted—have triggered a valuable debate, leading possibly to much-needed reforms.
    If that were all that Snowden had done, if his stolen trove of beyond-top-secret documents had dealt only with the NSA’s domestic surveillance, then some form of leniency might be worth discussing.

    But Snowden did much more than that. The documents that he gave the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman and the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald have, so far, furnished stories about the NSA’s interception of email traffic, mobile phone calls, and radio transmissions of Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s northwest territories; about an operation to gauge the loyalties of CIA recruits in Pakistan; about NSA email intercepts to assist intelligence assessments of what’s going on inside Iran; about NSA surveillance of cellphone calls “worldwide,” an effort that (in the Post’s words) “allows it to look for unknown associates of known intelligence targets by tracking people whose movements intersect.” In his first interview with the South China Morning Post, Snowden revealed that the NSA routinely hacks into hundreds of computers in China and Hong Kong.

    *Correction, Jan. 6, 2013: This article originally stated that Edward Snowden had not released any documents detailing the cyber-operations of any other countries. In fact, he leaked documents that detail the cyber-operations of Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand.

    These operations have nothing to do with domestic surveillance or even spying on allies. They are not illegal, improper, or (in the context of 21st-century international politics) immoral. Exposing such operations has nothing to do with “whistle-blowing.”

    Among other things, Snowden signed an oath, as a condition of his employment as an NSA contractor, not to disclose classified information, and knew the penalties for violating the oath.

    In fact, as Snowden himself told the South China Morning Post, he took his job as an NSA contractor, with Booz Allen Hamilton, because he knew that his position would grant him “access to lists of machines all over the world [that] the NSA hacked.” He stayed there for just three months, enough to do what he came to do.

    Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel of Reuters later reported, in an eye-opening scoop, that Snowden gained access to his cache of documents by persuading 20 to 25 of his fellow employees to give him their logins and passwords, saying he needed the information to help him do his job as systems administrator. (Most of these former colleagues were subsequently fired.)

    [Snowden] gets himself placed at the NSA’s signals intelligence center in Hawaii for the sole purpose of pilfering extremely classified documents. (How many is unclear: I’ve heard estimates ranging from “tens of thousands”

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:17AM (#47195203)

    Didn't he release all of his information? What more use would be interrogating him?

    I see some possibilities here:

    1. He did not actually release everything he had.
    2. Why would Russia release this information? What do they have to gain from saying this?

    He did not.
    Snowden released ALL of the data to 2 reporters and a documentary film maker.
    He was caught in a catch 22. If he did not release all of the data, the government could argue he was trying to manipulate the government by only release bits and pieces. At the same time, if he released all of it as Manning did, it could put some people in danger. He's always argued that he did not want to harm the US's legitimate interests.

    So he picked journalists that he thought were responsible and he thought he could trust, gave them all of the data and relied on them to keep it safe and only release data that would further his transparency goals. This is also why he didn't approach the NewYork Times. They'd already agreed to hide information they had on government programs with the Whitehouse. Snowden knew this, and didn't trust them because of it. Their complicity lost them the biggest story in the history of the world.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:37AM (#47195391)

    If Snowden hadn't been treated like a traitor by his country, he wouldn't've had to flee in the first place. Uncle Sam only have himself to blame if snowden is spilling the beans in Russia.

    You don't understand the event sequence, so you are wrong. It went like this.

    1) Snowden steals a bunch of documents in secret. He flies to Hong Kong. At this point, nobody knows anything about him or what he has done except Snowden himself.

    2) While in Hong Kong, Snowden gives a bunch of documents to various members of the press and holds a press conference to announce what he has done and to point out that he "had" to do it because it was the only way to let the American people know the truth.

    3) The US government wakes up and realizes it has a really big problem on its hands. It's only now that the "traitor" charges begin and the US leans on China to send him back, instead prompting China to turn a blind eye as Russia agrees to make this its problem and headache to deal with. This gets China off the hook, although the Chinese have surely previously copied Snowden's stuff and possibly reached a deal with the USSR, cough cough, I mean Russia to share with each other what they find out.

    Sorry, you're off by quite a bit there.

    Snowden knew what the NSA Was doing.
    He didn't want to release it because Obama was going to win and promised to end the secret programs.
    Obama took office and not only did the program continue, it was ramped up. Snowden saw whistleblowers getting nailed all over the place.
    The NSA actually FRAMED one guy. Litterally framed him. When the documents were found to be fake the feds dropped the case.
    Snowden then realized that there would be no fair trail inside the US. He would be framed as well.
    He also saw how other leakers had released information to a single news source and that news source had spiked the story at the whitehouses request.
    He contacted 3 journalists over a period of months and setup a meeting in Hong Kong
    With multiple media sources, no single org could stop the story. If one covered it up, the others could release it.
    The journalists met him in a hotel room there where they interviewed him over a period of a week or two. He gave them all the data.
    They sent some of their documents back to the US for stories and then watched the whitehouses reaction.
    They hoped there would be an immediate turn around in policy as the public realized what was going on and the NSA realized what snowden had stolen.
    Instead President Obama came out and flatly lied to the public. Not just a little, not just speaking out of context, he told bold faced lies and members of the justice department and congress went along with him.
    Snowden realized this meant it was an institutional conspiracy. There would be change without releasing all of the data.
    So Snowden went public because he wanted to counter what was so obviously a lie. Without an "inside man" to explain how things really worked the president could spin the story any way he wanted to. By being the face to the story, he made it very real to most Americans.

    Have no doubt, he sacrificed himself for us. I don't know what else he does or his political views. I'm sure there are things about him I'd dislike or even hate. But if more of us could have a moment of clarity like he did, if we could do the right but painful thing that needed to be done more often, we'd all be better off.

  • Do you need a reminder, what that "freedom-granting" nation does to its own defectors? It involves polonium poisoning []. Rings a bell?
  • by lister king of smeg ( 2481612 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:49PM (#47195931)

    Is there any evidence at all that he had contact with Russia prior to ending up there? As far as I know, there isn't.

    Yeah. I'll admit my memory of the topic isn't perfect, but I thought it was the folks at wikileaks that that were trying to help him and suggested Russia was the safest stopover point.

    You are correct it was Wikileaks that bought him his plane tickets out of Hong Kong when China was looking like they were about to give him up to the US. Russia was supposed to just be a stop where he was supposed to get on a plane bound for Cuba then Ecuador. But the US state department revoked his passport preventing him from leaving the airport in Russia after sitting in the international lobby for weeks unable to leave, Russia gave him a one year grant of asylum. This is just a bunch of political propaganda to discredit Snowden.

    Also remember the US forced a landing of the jet carrying the President of Bolivia because we thought that Snowden might be on board.

    The only reason Snowden is in Russia is Because the US government has trapped him there.

  • Re:Clearance (Score:5, Informative)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:54PM (#47195991) Homepage

    It is illegal to obey an illegal order and that includes orders to break the constitution, regardless of whether or not it is illegally written into law. It is already a matter of record that the ways of doing it properly were completely and utterly broken, especially when the NSA representatives including the head of the NSA publicly lied under oath. For which they have as yet failed to be charged for the crime committed on public record!!! Also note not, not one single individual has as yet to be charged for the huge level of criminal activity within the NSA. So pointing to laws in this case is to point to empty twaddle, completely and utterly meaningless where the administration, the agencies they command, and private for profit contractors all routinely broke laws and have all have been failed to be held accountable. Which of course also means the US Department of in-Justice is also now just as culpable.

    Did a Russian agent trick Snowden, well based upon repeated demands the Snowden be murdered out of hand with out trial by many US politicians, not really, Snowden was destined to go there or remain in China or possibly South America. Would a Russia agent claim extra credit for Snowden, depends upon whether it is promotion time or not, if a promotion is in the offing you can pretty much guarantee it, just like any other spy vs spy type any where in the world (publicly bragging about it is rather questionable unless it was an act of misinformation). As for getting a copy of the data, if Snowden didn't have it, then Russia would simply buy a loose copy direct off one of the many private contractors, who has access to it. Don't forget that copy nabbed at the airport in the UK.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!