That sounds so strange that I wonder what pressure the State Department (or CIA or NSA or NCIS) has brought to bear on Vladimir Putin and the Russians. Since the beginning of this saga, I've suspected too much tradecraft for Snowden to be acting on his own. He said the other day that he applied for the Booz Allen Hamilton job in Hawaii with the specific goal of getting his hands on NSA documents.
The notion of a 30 year-old junior employee of the NSA working all that out, then actually doing the deed, then making his way to Hong Kong before getting to Moscow all on his own would make him an intelligence savant. If Snowden did all this without any outside help, President Obama should issue a full pardon in return for Snowden promising to take the job of Director of National Intelligence.
At first, I thought his collaborators must have been the Chinese -- and it still might turn out they had a role, if only because Snowden was in Hong Kong and the Chinese allowed him to board a Russian aircraft knowing the U.S. wanted them to hold him for extradition. Then I thought I might be the Russians who, after all, allowed him on their airplane with the knowledge that the plan was headed for Moscow. Now I believe that Snowden reached out to Wikileaks after the Bradley Manning story broke back in 2010, and someone there has been helping Snowden act as a double agent ever since.
By the way, the prosecution in the Bradley Manning trial rested its case yesterday after calling 80 witnesses. Manning is charged with 21 counts stemming from his theft and sending to Wikileaks of, according to ABC News "700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and State Department diplomatic cables" while an active duty member of the U.S. Army working in Baghdad.
Manning's trial is being held at Fort Meade, Maryland -- home of...the NSA.