Russia offers asylum to American whistleblower as US fumes

WASHINGTON: Russia stepped up to offer asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowdenon Tuesday even as a poll showed a majority of Americans (56%) saying they can live with the National Security Agency (NSA) phone-tracking program to investigate terrorism. Reflecting a divide prevalent even among the illuminati, a substantial minority (41%) said it is unacceptable.

Russia’s provocative offer amid souring ties between Washington and Moscow came unsolicited because the man at the centre of the flap has not sought any help and is still believed to be holed up in Hong Kong, the Chinese territory he chose to stage his expose of the US deep state. A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin was reported saying ”If any such an appeal (for asylum) is given, we’ll act according to facts,” much to the delight of US critics who relish the prospect of US hysterics because the bragging rights it has long claimed for civil liberties, especially vis-a-vis Russia and China.

But what came as a surprise on Tuesday amid continuing suspense over the whereabouts of Snowden was the Pew Research poll that showed American acceptance of the government’s intrusive breach of privacy. The June 6-9 survey among 1,004 adults revealed 62% saying it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy. Just 34% say it is more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.

Among younger people, the divide was 51-45, suggesting they were more concerned about privacy issues, although the general sense is that the younger generation more readily gives away information online. Overall, 56% say it is acceptable that the NSA “has been getting secret court orders to track telephone calls of millions of Americans in an effort to investigate terrorism.”