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Expert Source: Edward Snowden & NSA

David Deese


Boston College Professor of Political Science David Deese teaches and researches international economic relations and international foreign policy. He is author of Globalization: Causes and Effects.

Office: 617-552-4585
Cell: 617-519-9695

More than two weeks after Edward Snowden’s identity and location were first discovered, the NSA leaker is still on the run, while the foreign countries that could help with his capture are resisting United States demands and bristling against its criticism.

“There is an element of pushback,” says Boston College Political Science Professor David Deese. “They don’t want to be seen at home in terms of their own domestic audiences as being at the beck and call of the United States.”

China shot back at the U.S., denying accusations it had a role in letting Snowden fly to Russia, despite a formal request from the United States for the Chinese to turn him over. Russia, in turn, scolded the U.S., calling demands for Snowden’s return “ungrounded and unacceptable.” Meantime, Ecuador is considering Snowden’s asylum request because it doesn’t think he’ll get a fair trial in the U.S.

“When it gets to be China and Russia, it gets to be complicated,” says Deese, an expert in international foreign policy. “They don’t care about our people. What they care about is appearance and how it might be seen for their people.” 

It’s believed the 30-year-old former employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton left Hong Kong over the weekend and is currently holed up in a Moscow airport. Deese says if the Chinese were to turn Snowden over, it would cause problematic ripple effects down the road. 

“The Chinese don’t want to discourage people from doing this,” says Deese. “They want to encourage people, especially Westerners, to pass long information to the Chinese government.”

As for Russia, Deese says that country needs to save face while repairing the image of corruption that might help bring back investing businesses for its struggling economy.

“With Russia, Putin is pushing to bring the Russian foreign policy back into the center of major events and bring them as a center of power in the world,” says Deese. “I would expect the Russians to eventually return Snowden because Putin can get all of the public relations value that he wants in the interim, play the big power role and then at some point release him, get credit for doing the right thing, and try to leverage it to get something from the U.S., but not in a hurry so that he looks like he’s kowtowing to the U.S.”


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Sean Hennessey
Office of News & Public Affairs
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