Defector Describes Russia’s Handling of NSA Leaker Snowden
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence official ever to defect to the West, tells Accuracy in Media that recent developments in the case of NSA leaker Edward Snowden have convinced him that Snowden’s arrival in Russia was “the result of a well-prepared Russian intelligence operation” against the United States.
Snowden “is an agent of the Russian foreign intelligence service,” he has concluded.
Pacepa’s new book, Disinformation, co-authored with Professor Ronald Rychlak, was recently published by WND Books. It argues that Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, and his ex-KGB cronies have transformed Russia into “the first intelligence dictatorship in history.”
Pacepa made the remarks about Snowden in response to a request from AIM that he comment on a Russian media report that before Snowden arrived in Moscow, he had spent several days living at the Russian consulate in Hong Kong. This revelation contradicted previous Russian claims that Snowden’s decision to travel to Moscow came as a surprise and was unexpected.
“Americans say that if you really want to know someone, you should walk a mile in his moccasins,” he said. “I walked in disinformation shoes over many miles and for many years, and I have good reason to believe that Moscow’s ‘surprise’ about the ‘unexpected’ arrival in Moscow of NSA leaker Edward Snowden is the product of a disinformation operation.”
He explained, “Few outsiders knew that during the Cold War there were more people in the Soviet bloc working for KGB disinformation than for the Soviet army and defense industry put together. Most of this immense disinformation machinery survived, and it will certainly do its best to persuade the rest of the world that Snowden is a small private salesman who acted on his own. The recent revelation that Snowden spent several days hidden in the Russian consulate in Hong Kong will certainly not help the Kremlin to keep its hand in this defection clean for long.”
My column on this matter asserted that the Russian media report on Snowden’s stay in the Russian consulate, not previously disclosed, was not only proof that Putin lied through his teeth about Snowden’s relationship with Russia, but that he is now boasting about carrying out this monumental deception. Putin had previously said, among other things, that he didn’t want Snowden to harm the security of his “American partners.”
In a classic case of disinformation, an old Soviet tactic, “The Russians wanted people to believe that Snowden was a whistleblower desperately searching for a place to go,” my column said.
In describing his own defection to the U.S., Pacepa says people should contrast how different Snowden’s arrival in Moscow has been, and how the evidence indicates it was a planned operation all along, designed to confuse the world about the real intentions of Russia and the NSA leaker.
We had also noted that Snowden’s handler, Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian, had been a regular speaker at international Communist conferences.
“In 1978, when I finally got the guts to break with Communism, I took with me just a camera containing a couple of snapshots of my daughter and a wristwatch with the signature of King Hussein of Jordan on its dial, which the king had just given me for—as he put it—saving his life from an assassination attempt organized by PLO leader Yasser Arafat,” Pacepa said. “I was Romania’s spy chief, and I could have taken hundreds of top secret documents with me—on film, microfilm, or microdot. Anything I wanted. But I did not, because I was taking that big step all by myself, and I could have been arrested at the Romanian border. Other defectors from my service, the DIE, had gone before me. To the best of my knowledge, none had been working in place for another service, and none had taken any secret documents with him. At that moment, all I wanted, and all they wanted, was to escape alive, and to tell our stories.”
He explained, “During the Cold War there were hundreds of other self-motivated defectors from the Soviet bloc, and as far as I know, none came out loaded with secret documents. Even the famous KGB archivist Col. Vasili Mitrokhin, who in the 1990s supplied us with some 25,000 pages of highly confidential documents (described by the FBI as ‘the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source’) did not dare to cross the border with documents concealed on him. The British MI6 smuggled them out of Russia.”
Snowden, by contrast, was gathering up classified documents for months, including information disclosed by The Washington Post in its Friday newspaper of the “black budget” of U.S. intelligence agencies. The material was “obtained by The Washington Post from former—intelligence contractor Edward Snowden,” the paper confirmed. This is just the latest disclosure by Snowden, and more have been promised.
The paper added, “The Post is withholding some information after consultation with U.S. officials who expressed concerns about the risk to intelligence sources and methods.” But there can be no doubt that our adversaries and enemies, such as Russia, now have access to these details.
Meantime, the George Soros-funded Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is hosting a celebration on September 19 for the “2013 Pioneer Award winners,” including Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, who worked with Snowden as he made his anti-NSA disclosures. EFF has received almost $1 million from George Soros and his foundations over the last five years.
Greenwald and Poitras could be charged with espionage over their roles in facilitating Snowden’s disclosures and travels.
By her own admission, Poitras has been stopped by immigration officials on many different occasions, traveling to and from the United States, while the sex “partner” of Glenn Greenwald, a Brazilian named David Miranda, was recently detained by British authorities during a trip through London. Miranda had been in Berlin meeting with Poitras.
London Telegraph correspondent David Barrett reports that Oliver Robbins, the deputy national security adviser for intelligence, security and resilience in the Cabinet Office, made a 13-page submission that Miranda was carrying “approximately 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents.”
Robbins is quoted as saying the government has been forced to assume that copies of the information held by Snowden “are now in the hands of foreign governments after his travel to Moscow via Hong Kong.”
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].