Staff Writer @Rain_VarelaNot satisfied enough with annexing Crimea and allegedly stirring up unrest in Eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to poke the eye of his favorite target, the United States, once again. Not by expanding his nation’s territory this time, but by the simple act of appearing on Russian television. Now why would that bother the United States? Well, if it involves an interview with Edward Snowden it would. Edward Snowden is the former CIA employee and contractor for the NSA who leaked thousands of classified documents to multiple media outlets. Fearing for his safety and charged with espionage by the United States government, Snowden fled to Russia. The United States then asked Russia to release Snowden to their custody; in response Russia granted Snowden a one year temporary, but renewable, asylum. And it looks like they are milking the fruits of that decision for all its worth. In Putin’s annual television appearance where he accepts calls and questions from the citizens of the Russian Federation, Snowden made an appearance via video link. "Does Russia store, intercept, or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals, and do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify a place in societies rather than subjects under surveillance?" Snowden asked Putin. To which Putin replied “Mr. Snowden you are a former agent, a spy, I used to work for a intelligence service, we are going to talk the same language." Then he added, "We don't have as much money as they have in the States and we don't have these technical devices that they have in the States. Our special services, thank God, are strictly controlled by society and the law and regulated by the law." Seems fine, but what President Putin failed to mention is that Russia has one of the most sophisticated electronic surveillance systems in the world, known as SORM. It is capable of intercepting internet traffic, and capturing telephone communications. And even though Russian Intelligence FSB needs to secure a warrant to access the information, they really don’t have to show this to anyone. This according to independent journalist Andrei Solatov who has written about Russian Surveillance capabilities, when he told Mashable in an interview last January.
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