The Spectacle Blog

Vladimir Putin: Friend of Liberty?

By on 6.11.13 | 12:22PM

My libertarian friends spent Monday denouncing me as a "statist" because I refused either to denounce the NSA surveillance program as pure evil Big Brother "spying" on Americans or to embrace the leaker Edward Snowden as a patriotic hero. Certainly, this is a weird situation when House Speaker John Boehner is citing President Obama -- “The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs" -- and I find myself nodding in agreement with Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein: “I don’t look at this as being a whistle-blower, I think it’s an act of treason ... He took an oath -- that oath is important. He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s an act of treason in my view.”

Strange bedfellows became even stranger today, however, with the suggestion that Russia might be willing to consider providing a refuge to Snowden:

After he checked out of the Mira Hotel in Hong Kong on Monday, however, Snowden’s whereabouts were unknown. He had previously spoken of seeking asylum overseas, but a Hong Kong official said there would be no “safe harbor” for Snowden there. The FBI’s Washington field office will supervise the investigation of Snowden’s case, U.S. authorities told the New York Times, which quoted one anonymous federal official saying there would be “no hesitation” to bring criminal charges against the 29-year-old computer specialist.
Snowden has moved to another Hong Kong hotel “to keep his location secret,” according to the British Guardian newspaper, which first published information based on the classified documents Snowden illegally obtained from a top-secret NSA facility in Hawaii. The Guardian also reported that a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin had suggested Russia might offer asylum to the fugitive American. “If such an appeal is given, it will be considered. We’ll act according to facts,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a Russian newspaper in what the Guardian described as “the Kremlin’s latest move to woo critics of the west.”

Right: Because we can count on former KGB man Vladimir Putin to defend our nation's sacred Fourth Amendment liberties. I'm sure that equation makes sense to somebody, but excuse me for thinking that my libertarian friends have miscalculated.

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