And Vladimir, I envy your forthrightness, notably not a quality that Mr. Obama shares with you. USA Today reports on the Russian President’s latest unscripted statements:
Russia President Vladimir Putin says his government is not working with National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, and defended President Obama over his spying program — sort of.
“How do I feel about Obama after Snowden’s revelations? I envy him, because he can get away with it,” Putin said during a Thursday news conference in Russia.
Speaking a day after a White House advisory panel released a report recommending changes in NSA programs, Putin defended espionage in general.
He called it “one of the oldest professions in the world, just like some other well-known professions — we won’t mention them here,” an apparent reference to prostitution.
But Putin did say regulations, such as those envisioned for the NSA, are necessary: “On political level, it’s necessary to limit the appetite of special services with certain rules.”
As for Snowden — granted political asylum by Russia earlier this year — Putin said: “To speak in professional jargon, operatively speaking, we are not working with him, and we never worked with him…