Putin: NSA surveillance necessary to combat terrorism

By Sooraj Shah
19 Dec 2013 View Comments

Russian president Vladimir Putin has claimed that the US National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance is necessary to combat terrorism, but stated that there should be firmer rules for the agency to "limit its appetite".

Putin's surprising remarks, reported by the Associated Press, were made at an annual press conference, where he said that the NSA programme "isn't a cause for joy" but was also "not a cause for repentance either", as it is needed to fight terrorism.

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He argued that it was necessary for government to undertake mass surveillance of citizens in order to expose terrorists and their contacts. However, he said "on a political level, it's necessary to limit the appetite of special services with certain rules".

But the Russian president added that the efficiency of the programme and its impact on privacy is limited by the agency's inability to process such a large amount of data.

When Putin was asked about former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, who had been granted asylum in Russia, Putin said that Russia was not controlling him.

He suggested that any revelations that have been published by Snowden since his arrival in Russia would have been provided to the author(s) prior to landing in the country, and that it was a condition of his refuge that Snowden could not carry on with any activities that were seen as anti-American.

Putin stated that he hasn't personally met with Snowden, and insisted that Russian security agencies haven't worked with him and have not asked him any questions related to NSA activities against Russia.


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