Ex-KGB Major Boris Karpichko told Nigel Nelson of The Mirror that spies from Russia’s SVR intelligence service, posing as diplomats in Hong Kong, convinced Snowden to fly to Moscow last June.
“It was a trick and he fell for it,” Karpichko, who reached the rank of Major as a member of the KGB’s prestigious Second Directorate while specializing in counter-intelligence, told Nelson. “Now the Russians are extracting all the intelligence he possesses.”
Karpichko fled Moscow in 1998 after spying on his native Latvia for the KGB and the post-Soviet FSB. The 55-year-old
says he is still in contact with several of his old spy pals.
Snowden flew from Hawaii to Hong Kong on May 20, 2013 and identified himself to the world on June 9. The 30-year-old American became stranded in Moscow on June 23 after he landed with a void U.S. passport and an unsigned travel Ecuadorian document obtained by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Karpichko said that the Kremlin leaked Snowden’s planned flight to Moscow to provoke the U.S. into revoking Snowden’s passport, which Washington did on June 22. Assange also advised Snowden that “he would be physically safest in Russia.”
Snowden has been living under the protection of the post-Soviet security services (FSB) since at least receiving asylum on Aug. 1. Karpichko told The Mirror that Snowden lives in an FSB-controlled neighbourhood in Moscow’s suburbs.
“His flat is heavily alarmed to stop anything happening to him,” Karpichko said. “He meets the FSB twice a week over plenty of food and drink.”
Former KGB General Olig Kalugin recently told VentureBeat that “the Russians are very pleased with the gifts Edward Snowden has given them. He’s busy doing something. He is not just idling his way through life.”
Back to the CIA
Karpichko also claims that Moscow spotted Snowden as a candidate for defection in 2007 and opened a file on him while he worked for the CIA in Geneva.
The CIA hired Snowden as a systems administrator and technician in 2006, subsequently sending him to Geneva in early 2007 under diplomatic cover at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Then 24, Snowden’s “was in the system. He was reading the traffic” at the Geneva CIA station, one former CIA official told Vanity Fair.
Snowden has said that he first considered leaking documents around 2008. He resigned from the CIA in early 2009 after becoming “disillusioned” about how the U.S. government functions. He excelled at several jobs for the NSA and as an NSA contractor before fleeing to Hong Kong.
The U.S. government believes Snowden, who had a web presence from 2001 until May 2012, began downloading documents in the summer of 2012 and eventually stole around 1.7 million documents — about 200,000 of which he gave to journalists.
It is unclear when or if the former NSA systems administrator gave up access to the cache of up to 1.5 million documents, which is suspected to contain military intel. Snowden recently told NBC that he “destroyed” them but had previously told the New York Times that he gave them all to journalists he met in Hong Kong.
As an experienced systems administrator, Snowden is especially appealing to spy services hostile to America.
Both the U.S. and U.K. claim that the Snowden leaks have done staggering damage to their spy operations. In any case, Snowden’s brain is a very valuable asset to his hosts in Moscow.
“He will stay in Russia until they have got everything they want from him,” Karpichko said. “They need the time to extract all the classified intelligence he possesses about the operational methods and tactics of Western security agencies.”
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