Russian President Vladimir Putin is normally trolling the global media at this time of year by posing shirtless and engaging in various camera-friendly summer sports like swimming and fishing. But this summer, he's being out-trolled and is stuck answering questions about an entitled American twerp living in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.
Secret-leaking former NSA contractor Edward Snowden recently attended a press conference inside the airport's transit zone and indicated that he would seek asylum in Russia -- well, until something better comes along. The fugitive with a revoked passport who has yet to secure asylum said that he intends to travel to all the countries that have thus far offered him refuge, out of the more than 20 to which he has applied to date, to thank their governments and people.
Putin must have had trouble holding down his breakfast. Welcome to the club, Vlad. It's one thing for Putin to leverage Snowden's de facto multiple-jurisdictional defection to stick it to the West, but it's another thing to have to put up with the insulting shenanigans of a disloyal opportunist.
If Snowden is to remain free, it will be strictly by Putin's good grace. So how rude or divorced from reality would you have to be to say aloud, while on Russian soil, that you'll take Russia's offer of asylum along with any and all others, thank you very much, and will also be planning a world tour to visit all the jurisdictions hostile to America that have offered to leverage your theft of intelligence in exchange for safe haven?
Here's the thing about defectors that Putin no doubt understands as a former FSB director and KGB chief: There are those who defect out of allegiance to the enemy, and those (mainly fugitives on the lam) who are straight-up opportunists. Putin doesn't seem to suffer any delusions over which category Snowden fits, explaining to the media how Snowden's position jibes with Putin's asylum condition that Snowden stop leaking intelligence.
"He is familiar with the conditions of granting political asylum, and judging by the latest statements, is shifting his position. But the situation has not been clarified yet. ... [Snowden] said, 'I want to continue my activity, fighting for human rights. I think the U.S. is violating certain international regulations and intervening in private lives and my goal is to fight this.'"
Right -- people with actual morals and convictions rather than just a finger in the wind tend to be clear. Much like they are willing to face a jury of their peers if they are truly acting out of personal conviction and objectively in the public interest. Whatever Snowden is doing, it manifestly isn't that.
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