Putin hands on Snowdown

The news that Russia has granted National Security Administration leaker Edward Snowden temporary asylum should come as no shock to our government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is no friend of the United States, and his old KGB background should make him very interested in Snowden’s intimate knowledge of how our security systems work.

As we have stated before, we are not comfortable with the scope of NSA’s intrusion into the private lives of our citizens. Agency officials continually protest that they do not know the content of the billions of phone calls, only the numbers that are being called. They supposedly only check on accounts that are making calls to numbers linked to terrorists.

But, as we have pointed out, where there is that much data, some political operative is going to mine it for political purposes. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. It will occur to someone that he can get ahead by, for instance, supplying the phone numbers of people who are calling the chairman of an opposing political party.

That said, it was not up to Edward Snowden to leak the details of NSA’s plans and then flee the country. Frankly, a trial would have been a great opportunity to have the debate over whether or not NSA is overreaching with its intelligence gathering.

It is a moot point, though, thanks to Russia and Mr. Putin. Now the American public will not know the details of NSA’s operations – but a former KGB head will.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.