Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that surveillance conducted by the United States is needed to fight terrorism, but that the government should “limit the appetite” of the National Security Agency.
Speaking a news conference in Moscow, Putin said the NSA’s surveillance “isn’t a cause for joy, it’s not a cause for repentance either,” the Associated Press reports. Putin, who is a 16-year veteran of the KGB, the former Soviet Union’s main security agency until the communist bloc’s collapse in 1991, said the “appetite of special services” should be tempered by certain rules.
Putin also took questions on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, and whom Putin once described as a “strange guy” who has “condemned himself to a rather difficult life.”
Putin said that he had not met with Snowden, and that Russian security agencies have not worked with or asked Snowden questions relating to NSA activities concerning Russia. He reaffirmed that Snowden was granted asylum under the condition that he halted what Putin called anti-American activities.