As President Donald Trump prepares to meet with Vladimir Putin on Monday, lawmakers on both sides want the Russian president to bring to justice 12 hackers, who have been accused of sabotaging the 2016 elections. This is unlikely, especially because Trump in gender does not approve the discussions on voting among Russian voters.
But Putin is also home to another US-backed hacker – one of whom Trump Trump has never questioned: Edward Snowden.
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As a candidate, Trump "guarantees" [d]"He would bring home the notorious informant of the National Security Agency, but as president, he did not show the desire to face Putin on Snowden.
Why not? Experts and former US officials say the passions have cooled down on the refugee who rocked the secret services five years ago last month. Recent hacker scandals have overshadowed his actions. And Trump himself has become a stern critic of US surveillance programs, which he claims to be devoid of evidence, that the Obama administration has abused him.
However, some experts believe that the transfer of Snowden would be an easy way for Putin to do a favor to Trump – to give the President a victory that would be particularly useful for the intelligence service and the National Security Guard. Before Trump took an oath in January 2017, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell wrote that Snowden's delivery would be "the perfect gift for the house's inauguration" from Putin to Trump.
"If Trump wants this to be a victory, then I do not see why Putin would not give it to him," said Geoffrey Stone, a professor from the University of Chicago who served on a foreign intelligence surveillance committee. created by President Barack Obama after Snowden's losses, "If Putin Trump wants to do a favor or make Trump look good, and if Trump wants it, it would be an easy task for Putin," Stone said.
"You can almost see the image of Snowden being handcuffed in the Air Force One," he added.
Snowden took refuge in Moscow in mid-2013 after publicly issuing secret NSA files he had stolen while he was a private entrepreneur. He described himself as an informant who discovered surveillance violations, but many current and former US officials regard him as a traitor or worse.
Trump is one of them: "Snowden is a spy who has done great damage to the US A spy in the old days, when our country was respected and strong, would be executed," he said declared on Twitter in April 2014.
As a candidate for 2016, Trump said he could bring Snowden back from the Russians, who granted him asylum. Putin promised to make friends with Putin and improve relations between the United States and Russia, insisting that the Russian leader – who, he said, has no respect for Obama – will "never" keep someone like Snowden, if Trump The President would be.
"Look … when I'm president, Putin tells Snowden," Hey, boom, you're not here. "I guarantee you," Trump said in July 2015.
Since then, Snowden seems to have fallen off Trump's to-do list. And some believe that the Russian president likes to take him under his wing, even at a time when he wants to do business with Trump.
"I do not think it's on top of Trump's agenda, and I actually think Putin has little interest in delivering it," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch and one of the main defenders of the "heroic" losses of Snowden,
Snowden remains hidden in Russia with his partner Lindsay Mills. Just last month, however, Mills shared a rare photo of Snowden on his Instagram account, the restaurant apparently overlooking the Moscow skyline.
The same Snowden has the possibility of delivery in May in a podcast interview with The Intercept.
"Donald Trump will come to Russia, you know, whenever he can," Snowden told journalist Mehdi Hasan before announcing the meeting in Helsinki.
"It seems clear that nobody in this world loves more than the Russian president." "Will he try to reach an agreement?" "He added. "Can I do something about it?"
Trump is not the only senior US official to request the return and execution of Snowden. As a congressman in 2016, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed Trump's opinion. "It should be brought back from Russia and treated appropriately, and I think the right result would be to get a death sentence," Pompey told C-SPAN in February of the same year.
Snowden ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner declined to comment on this article.
After starting to escape in June 2013, Snowden ordered months of news. But even though the best lawmakers have called for the extradition of 25 Russians, who are now accused by the Department of Justice for the 2016 election, Snowden has remained without mention.
"These people must be brought to the United States for a trial, and you should ask Mr. Putin to deliver them," eight Democratic Party senators, including the senior Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee, Letter to Trump, wrote on Saturday. who did not mention the former NSA contractor.
If Putin had sent Snowden back to the United States, he would wait for a trial in a prison cell. The espionage charges against him spend decades in prison and prevent him from using an informant defense in the process. Former US Attorney General Eric Holder told Russia in 2013 that the United States would not demand the death penalty for Snowden to prevent Russia from granting political asylum to the former contractor. Holder informed Russia that the charges against Snowden would not be punished with death and that the government would not pursue the death penalty, even if he had been charged with further crimes involving a death sentence. But it is not clear whether Trump's Department of Justice would agree.
Even some of Snowden's sternest critics point out that Helsinki is not the place to discuss his fate, especially when Trump and Putin are grappling with important political issues, such as the Middle East.
"When it comes to finding a solution for Syria, it should not get up.if it's more a ceremonial gathering, then it would be appropriate for the problem to be on the agenda," said Republican Mike Rogers, who held the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Snowden's inauguration.
Rogers denounced Snowden as a traitor who endangers American life – even once, without concrete evidence that he should receive murder charges. But he suggested that Moscow itself, where some believe Snowden's freedom is limited, is a kind of prison for him.
"He is absolutely unhappy in a very controlled environment in Russia, it could be the best punishment," Rogerson said in an e-mail.
Matthew Waxman, director of the National Law Law Program at Columbia Law School and former chief executive officer of George W. Bush, said he does not expect Snowden to reach the summit on Monday.
But that was impossible, he added, especially considering the Trumpian show that Snowden's return would bring.
"Trump is unpredictable and sometimes seems more interested in presenting business than substance," he said.
Waxman added that Putin "carefully studied Trump's psychology" and could offer Snowden if he thought he would help win other deals from his American counterpart.
At the time of the escape, Trump said he would be "pathetic" if the United States needed years to bring Snowden back to US soil. In other interviews, Trump has accused the slow delivery of Obama's tense relationship with Putin.
"He hates Obama, he does not respect Obama, he does not like Obama either, but he has no respect for Obama, he hates Obama," Trump said.
But where Putin is now sitting, Snowden could be more useful in Russia than out. Some critics argue that Snowden was remarkably silent about Russia's authoritarian practices, even for scourging Trump's government, US intelligence agencies and many American technology companies on Twitter bill with 3.8 million followers.
"Snowden is a rare case of someone looking for Russia instead of running away from Putin's autocratic power," Roth said. "This is a way to make his autocratic rule look less bad. … It's much more valuable from the point of view of Putin when he underlines the mass invasion of the US government in privacy."
Snowden insists that he is not blindly abusing Russia for his safety. When he was questioned by The Intercept about the possibility of his extradition, he said:[W] Do I have to sell my principles to make it less likely? No. "And he did it recently criticize "Ballot" in the presidential elections in Russia in March, which put Putin on hold for another six years and sparked new speculation that any alliance he might have had with Putin's government broke.
"Ask for justice, ask for laws and tribunals that are important." Resume your future, "added Snowden.
Roth doubted that conservative republicans would be more concerned with Snowden and would reduce Trump's interest in him.
"I have no doubt that Trump would like to get Snowden," Roth said. "I'm not sure it's a problem to play with his base … I do not see he'll really do anything about it."
One reason that Putin would have sent Snowden back to the United States is Russia last year, extending his asylum until 2020. Russian officials to maintain You can not remove it against his will.
"President Putin raised the issue a few years ago," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last month. "He said it was for Edward Snowden to decide."
Lavrov added that Putin "never" discussed Snowden with the Trump administration.
"We respect your rights as an individual," Lavrov said. "I do not know why people would ask a specific question about the summit, Edward Snowden is the master of his own destiny."