TIME magazine's story on a "Runner-Up" to its Person of the Year tells us that Snowden's Kremlin connected lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, has "a knack for misleading the press."
This particular bit isn't news at all to me, of course, since I had noted in my last post that Kucherena's claim that Snowden "did not enter into any communication with our diplomats when he was in Hong Kong" conflicted with Putin's statement that Snowden had indeed made contact. Since Putin had no conceivable motive to lie here while Kucherena was trying to deny a Kommersant story about his client, it almost certainly must be Kucherena who was lying.
But note what else TIME says:
Snowden has chosen to lie low. No Twitter account. No television interviews. No direct contacts with U.S. authorities. He held his tongue as Kucherena boasted to the press about Snowden’s new Internet job in Moscow, his new Russian girlfriend and his dire money troubles. Most of that is fiction, like [Kucherena's upcoming] novel, according to several people who communicate regularly with Snowden.
In my eyes, this is a bombshell. Kucherena isn't just a liar, Snowden and/or the people who can get close to Snowden know he's a liar yet allow the Kremlin-sponsored disinformation campaign about Snowden to continue. In my last post I said
Greenwald presumably read the Kommersant story before calling it a fabrication and noted the claim of Snowden's Russian lawyer Kucherena that Snowden "did not enter into any communication with our diplomats when he was in Hong Kong" and just decided to believe that...
If Greenwald is one of the "several people who communicate regularly with Snowden" then if Greenwald "just decided to believe" Kucherena, he did so and then turned around and told TIME magazine, anonymously, that "most" of what Kucherena says is "fiction"! In other words, Greenwald knew full well that Kucherena is an unreliable source but decided to believe him anyway in order to accuse Kommersant of fabricating a story. if Greenwald decided to call the Kommersant story a "fabrication" without any reference to Kucherena and solely because Snowden told him he was never in communication with the Russians in Hong Kong then Snowden is also a liar and if Greenwald has any interest in journalism's old-fashioned job of informing the public it is even more incumbent upon him to call public attention to the liar. Note that the chronology of just when it dawned on Greenwald that Kucherena and/or Snowden was a liar is not critical here since Greenwald could have retracted his charge against Kommersant of fabricating a story and has thus far failed to do so.
This is news because it goes beyond just the question of how much contact Snowden had with the Russians before arriving in Russia. It goes to everything Kucherena has claimed which the "people who communicate regularly with Snowden" know to be false but have still failed to correct the record on. This is the first time Snowden's inner circle has spoken out to warn the western press about Kucherena and when they do so it is anonymously and upon prodding from a TIME reporter. Where were these people before?
TIME identifies "Snowden’s new Internet job in Moscow, his new Russian girlfriend and his dire money troubles" as specific points on which Kucherena's claims are (at least "most"ly) "fiction." Without looking deeply into how far these stories disseminated, I see a headline for Forbes from October 31, "NSA Fugitive Snowden Gets Job In Russia" and one for Britain's The Independent, "NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to work for one of Russia's most popular websites." To now learn that these stories are disinformation is not that remarkable. What is remarkable is learning that those "who communicate regularly with Snowden" and, let's not forget, Snowden himself, know these stories are fabricated by the Kremlin but until now have felt no obligation to set the record straight. If one of these people was Greenwald, instead of attacking Kremlin-sourced stories he knew to be suspicious, he was instead trying to undermine Reuters credibility because Reuters' reporting wasn't flattering Snowden.