Is Edward Snowdens disclosure of that the US Government is eavesdropping on their (and other countries’) citizens “Dog Bite Man” or “Man Bite Dog” news?
For anyone living in Russia, it is most likely the first variant, which means that most Russian would find it more newsworthy (but still not believable) if someone would have disclosed that the Russian government (i.e. FSB) was NOT able to listen to any conversation between Russian citizens and foreigners in Russia.
The problem with the way (according to Snowden) NSA approached their task is that they a) outsourced it and b) gave too wide authorities to gather information.
In the (in general quite lousy) movie “This Means War” you can see two (in this case) CIA guys who use their agency’s (and probably also NSA’s) resources to spy on the girl they both are competing for.
What is looks like what is shown in that movie might not be far from the reality within NSA’s PRISM program. (UPDATE: It seems from this disclosure in the Huffington Post, that the movie “This Means War” was not far from reality)
The conclusion is that secret governmental tasks just can’t be outsourced. It doesn’t matter how close contacts (and kickbacks) there are between the “buyers” in NSA and the outsources.
As mentioned above, if anyone in Russia would have tried to disclose that FSB (or any other state-agency) was listening on any communication, he would have had a hard time to become heard. Partly because no news-agency would dare to use the information but mainly because it is really no news.
Rest assure that Snowdens actions do not have any approval by Mr. Putin and other Russian officials, except maybe for the opportunity to have some “schadenfreude” on the behalf of the USA. Therefore, the speculations in mass-media that Russia would be prepared to grant Snowden asylum is far from any reality.
The Kremlin and the Russian government did not immediately comment. But Russian officials were defiant, saying Moscow had no obligation to cooperate with Washington after it passed the so-called Magnitsky law, which can impose a visa ban and asset freeze on Russian officials accused of human rights violations.