US Media Damns Edward Snowden for Posing with American National Flag

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | August 14, 2014 12:25 PM EST

Edward Snowden was photographed with a U.S. national flag on the cover of WIRED. The former NSA man created another controversy by embracing the American flag as he continued to be Russia's guest of honour.

REUTERS/Platon/WIRED/Handout v
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is shown on the cover of the September 2014 issue of WIRED magazine in this picture provided by WIRED on August 13, 2014. Snowden opened up for an exclusive interview by fellow whistleblower James Bamford and photo shoot from an undisclosed hotel in Moscow, Russia. Snowden, wanted by the U.S. or leaking extensive secrets of its electronic surveillance programs, has been given a three-year residence permit by Russia recently, according to his Russian lawyer.

The whistleblower, whom the Obama government wants to prosecute, made a statement in the September issue of the magazine - both in word and picture. He has told the magazine that he is a patriot who cares for his country. "I care more about the country than what happens to me," he said, "But we can't allow the law to become a political weapon or agree to scare people away from standing up for their rights, no matter how good the deal. I'm not going to be part of that."

While the fugitive takes political refuge in Russia - arguably the fiercest opponent of the United States, Snowden is hardly considered to be a patriot by a section of the U.S. media. The New York Post called him the "NSA traitor" "who leaked secret government data that he stole from the agency." The Post (written by Geoff Earle) thought that the photo was "offensive" for "Americans who believe Snowden put lives at risk."

CNN, on the other hand, wondered if Snowden committed his "first big PR blunder" by opting for such a photo shoot. It said (written by Brian Stelter) that the Snowden's photo with the American flag was "provocative and beautiful -- and yet there's something unsettling about it." TIME thought that "the provocative cover is sure to add some fuel to the debate."

According to Scott Dadich, the editor in chief of the magazine responsible for such controversy, Snowden was nervous during the photo shoot. "He said he was nervous that posing with the flag might anger people but that it meant a lot to him. He said that he loved his country. He cradled the flag and held it close to his heart. Nobody said a word, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up," Dadich wrote.

Snowden, nevertheless, seemed "relaxed and upbeat" while he tore away "at a giant room-service pepperoni pizza." "I told the government I'd volunteer for prison, as long as it served the right purpose," said the "most wanted man on the planet."

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Platon/WIRED/Handout v / )
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is shown on the cover of the September 2014 issue of WIRED magazine in this picture provided by WIRED on August 13, 2014. Snowden opened up for an exclusive interview by fellow whistleblower James Bamford and photo shoot from an undisclosed hotel in Moscow, Russia. Snowden, wanted by the U.S. or leaking extensive secrets of its electronic surveillance programs, has been given a three-year residence permit by Russia recently, according to his Russian lawyer.
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