The strange journey of Edward Snowden (shown in photo) may have taken another bizarre turn, as the head of a KGB veterans group in Moscow has reported that Snowden, the whistleblower on the National Security Agency's secret collection of America's phone records and electronic messages, has applied for membership in the organization of former members of Russia's secret police.
Alexei Lobarev, chairman of the group called "Veterans of the Siloviki" — literally "men of power" — told a Russian news outlet on Monday that Snowden has applied for membership in the organization, the online Washington Free Beacon reported. Snowden fled his Hawaiian home for Hong Kong after turning over documents revealing the NSA's secret PRISM program to the Guardian of London and the Washington Post. He flew from Hong Kong to Moscow on June 23 and has been living in an airport transit lounge in the Russian capital ever since. Though he has applied for asylum in more than 20 nations, his ability to travel is limited by the U.S. State Department's revocation of his passport. He has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, where his application is still pending. U.S. officials have been pressuring Moscow to return Snowden to the United States to face trial on charges of espionage and theft of government property.
If true, the report from the KGB veterans group reveals a striking irony in the adventures of one who, having rebelled against the secret surveillance by the NSA, now seeks affiliation with former members of one of the most clandestine and tyrannical organizations in world history. It will likely lend support to the arguments of Snowden's detractors that the former intelligence analyst, who has been hailed by many as a heroic whistleblower, is really a traitor out to damage the national security of the United States. The Beacon report quotes Ariel Cohen, a Russia specialist with the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, on how the report, if verified, could change Snowden's status in the United States.
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