Is Snowden ‘too tasty’ for Russian intelligence?

Edward Snowden’s disappearance from view has heightened speculation that the former US spy agency contractor may be talking to the Russian secret services, which see him as a “tasty morsel” that is too good to miss.
Even Tuesday’s flat denial by President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to end whispers that Snowden may have been interviewed by intelligence officers anxious to get their hands on whatever information he hasn’t yet leaked. Some experts say Russia might even try to hand him over to the US in a Cold War-style exchange, although this is less likely after Mr Putin ruled out his extradition to face espionage charges back home.
“He is a tasty morsel for any, any secret service, including ours. Any secret service would love to talk to him,” said a Russian security source.
Snowden, charged with disclosing secret US surveillance programmes, left Hong Kong for Moscow Sunday and the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group said he was heading for Ecuador, where he wants political asylum. Russia’s Federal Security Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But a former officer of its Soviet-era predecessor, the KGB, said Russia was unlikely to miss out, assuming Snowden is willing to cooperate. “It would be silly to pass on such an opportunity to get information that is very difficult, impossible or expensive to get in any other way,” said the ex-officer, Lev Korolkov.
US Senator John McCain, a Republican opponent of US President Barack Obama, said Mr Putin — also a former KGB agent — would grab the chance. “He is... an old KGB colonel apparatchik that has disdain for democracy and the things we stand for and believe in,” Mr McCain said on CNN Tuesday. “If he sees a situation he’ll take advantage of it.”

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