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Putin wonders how Snowden took upon himself to publish US intelligence secret data

December 19, 2013, 13:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, December 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is curious how the ex-NSA agent Edward Snowden decided to make public secret data about the work of US intelligence.

“I don’t know him personally and have never met him. I’ve got plenty of day-to-day affairs, and he has his own life concepts on what to do and how to live,” the head of state said on his annual press conference. “He is rather interesting to me.”

Putin stressed that thanks to Snowden “something shifted in millions of people’s minds”. “When I faced it, I was curious how he took it upon himself to do it. He is quite a young man. What does he possess?  Literally nothing. Where is he going to live? He made this choice for himself. It is high-minded, but complicated,” Putin noted. Putin called Snowden an intriguing and interesting person.

The president assured that Russian secret services “do not work promptly with Snowden”. “We don’t worry him with questions on what was being done regarding Russia at his ex-service and how,” Putin noted.


Wiretapping to fight terrorism

Vladimir Putin said the US intelligence service’s wiretapping throughout the world was made for fighting terrorism.

“Still, this was done for fighting terrorism,” he told a big news conference on Thursday.

Espionage “existed always,” “it is one of the oldest professions along with others - let’s skip naming those,” he told a big news conference on Thursday.

The president acknowledged the work of intelligence services had “a negative component,” but their activities, including those (listening to telephone conversations), “are necessary.” They have not only to trace a suspect of terrorism, but the entire chain of contacts, he explained. Putin stressed he was not going to justify whoever, but “still, this was done for fighting terrorism,” he told a big news conference on Thursday.

However, the president continued, “there should be clear rules” and some “general agreements” on the issue, first of all, of the moral aspect.

A reporter wanted to learn about Putin’s relations with US President Barack Obama following the information from the CIS former agent Edward Snowden. “I envy him. He can do so, and nothing will follow for him,” Putin said with a smile.

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