He lived in the Russian consulaate while in Hong Kong, and depending on who you believe, he either showed up on his own or was invited by the Russians, reports the Washington Post, quoting a Russian news source:
Before American fugitive Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow in June — an arrival that Russian officials have said caught them by surprise — he spent several days living at the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong, a Moscow newspaper reported Monday. [...]Curious choice, don't you think, for the paragon of government transparency to show up and seek help from one of the most secretive, pro-spying, anti-free speech and anti-free press governments on earth?
Kommersant cited conflicting accounts as to what brought Snowden to the consulate, on the 21st floor of a skyscraper in a fashionable neighborhood. It quoted a Russian close to the Snowden case as saying that the former NSA contractor arrived on his own initiative and asked for help. But a Western official also interviewed by the newspaper alleged that Russia had invited him.
Sure, it would be a curious choice for Snowden, if he were what his worshipers and his media backers tell you he is: a modern day fearless hero who is outraged by what he sees as pervading surveillance intruding on the rights of innocent people. But his now-exposed Sino-Russian love affairs raises a lot of interesting possibilities, or at least a lot of grave questions.
It's not difficult to understand why Russia and China (which runs international affairs for Hong Kong) would be interested in the treasure trove of American intelligence Snowden had to offer. But the question is, what did Snowden get in return?
Before anyone comes at me with a bogus "there's no evidence Snowden gave intelligence to Russia or China" baloney, let me just say that if you believe Russia and/or China doesn't have a facsimile of everything Snowden stole, please look into joining the Flat Earth Society.
There is one tangible thing we know Snowden got - cover from American prosecution through asylum in Russia. But after the revelation that Snowden gave the Russians a heads up long before previously thought, the question of monetary gain for Snowden must be raised, particularly since Snowden himself saw fit to raise the horrific predicament he had to suffer to leave a cushy $200,000 job in Hawaii in order to evade American justice.
Given Snowden's contact with the Russians well before he arrived at Moscow, to what extent is the pretend-whistleblower a cover for someone who perhaps was actually interested in selling American intelligence to Russia?
This is an even more pertinent question, since RT - the Kremlin-funded "news" agency - has been particularly supportive of Snowden. When the global propaganda arm of the Russian government takes up your cause, it means that you're valuable to Russia, and the only question is how that 'value' is subject to being 'cashed in.'
I guess Snowden is red, white, and blue after all, just of some different stripes.