Snowden Doomed to Dreadful Life in a Capsule
Published: August 16, 2013 (Issue # 1773)
Two weeks have passed since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden received temporary asylum from Russia, and he hasn't uttered a word. Nor do we know where he is located.
The only information we have is a cryptic statement on Aug. 1 from Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, that he is staying with "American friends" as part of his "acclimatization" process in Russia.
But who are these American friends? And how exactly is he being "acclimatized"?
It could very well be the case that these Americans are really FSB agents and that Snowden is staying in a government dacha under close surveillance.
Snowden might have landed in Moscow by accident and didn't start out as an agent for Russian intelligence, as the authorities claim. But he may have essentially become one as a condition for receiving asylum.
During Snowden's 40 days in Sheremetyevo Airport's transit zone, he likely worked closely with Russian authorities as a condition for receiving asylum protection. According to leading independent intelligence experts, Snowden may have revealed to FSB agents additional detailed information about how the NSA spies on Russia, helping the FSB better circumvent those measures. In addition, Snowden may have shared NSA blueprints that amount to, according to Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, "basically the instruction manual for how the NSA is built."
If this is the case, Snowden's "acclimatization" is probably a prolonged debriefing process by authorities to make sure he understands the strict, confined rules that he will now have to live by as a "refugee."
Because of Snowden's record of leaking information, the FSB is probably taking extra measures to make sure he now fully understands the meaning of the words "top secret." After all, the Kremlin dislikes — and highly distrusts — leakers even more than the White House does and will thus keep Snowden on a particularly short, tight leash.
If there is one message Russian authorities want to deliver to Snowden during this acclimatization period, it is: "Ed, you aren't in Hawaii anymore."
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