According to the Associated Press, NSA leaker Edward Snowden has officially applied for asylum in Russia, apparently after the Ecuador option collapsed. However, Vladimir says Snowden will only be allowed to stay in Russia if he stops leaking.
(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin made starkly clear on Monday that Edward Snowden was not welcome in Russia, and voiced solidarity with the United States over the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contactor. [...]
“If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must stop his work aimed at harming our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my lips,” Putin told reporters after a gas exporters’ conference in Moscow.
It’s unclear if Russian authorities would actually deport Snowden if he continues to leak information, but it appears that he is running out of time and out of friends.
The reality is nothing Snowden has revealed is earth-shattering or game-changing. It’s a matter of routine for the countries of the world to spy on each other, but what usually goes unspoken becomes controversial when said aloud, forcing local statesmen to voice their displeasure. Sometimes this public war of words can escalate to the point where it threatens trade relations, which is why the country of Ecuador has backtracked on its support for Snowden.
For his part, it appears to me that Putin has left himself enough wiggle room that he will come out looking like the good guy regardless of what Snowden chooses to do.