The Corner

Re: Russian Paper: Snowden Ended Up in Russia by Accident

In a meeting with Russian Foreign Ministry officials in Moscow two weeks ago, I was told in no uncertain terms that Snowden’s arrival was a surprise to Russian officials and could only have been concocted by the United States. Under their theory, the United States waited until they knew Snowden was airborne to cancel his passport, which resulted in his being stranded in a Moscow airport like Tom Hanks in The Terminal.

While doubtful, this scenario is at least not a complete impossibility: it is highly unlikely that a recently revoked passport would be detected at the time of Snowden’s boarding in Hong Kong. In addition, Russia does not require a transit visa for Americans as long as they are connecting in the same airport, which Snowden was apparently doing. However, if the allegation that Snowden went to the Russian consulate in Hong Kong is correct, it makes the unlikely story of his accidental arrival in Russia implausible.

As you may imagine, I found the Russians’ story of being surprised by the Snowden arrival to be absurd. The Foreign Ministry went on to tell me that Russians were “divided” on the matter, that they had no choice but to give Snowden asylum, and that the subsequent decision by the United States to cancel the summit with Obama and Putin was a setback in the bilateral relationship. The Russians being hapless victims of circumstance, you see, and completely blameless bystanders in their deteriorating relationship with the United States. Expect to see more mudding of the waters on this matter in an attempt to keep the facts surrounding Snowden’s asylum in Russia as murky as possible.  

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More