Alex Witt | June 29, 2013
>> security correspondent end for the " washington post ". and former assistant secretary of state for public affairs and fellow at george washington university . good day to both of you. greg , talk about this transit zone. putin saying he is in there. you can go to a bar, sleep at a hotel for $300 a night. it's been described so far as technically not russian territory. a limbo. when you look at this, how can u.s. or other governments get into this area and perhaps get access to snowden ?
>> well, that's more than a little disingenuous to say this is a space that russia has no say over. that's highly unlikely. and it serves the russian's interest right now to keep him in this limbo status. because there's a lot of suspicion among intelligence officials they're debriefing him or persuading him to be more cooperative on other questions russia has about united states espionage. he's obviously in a space that russia controls but beyond the reach of u.s. authorities and it enables them to manage whatever negotiations are under way to where he goes next.
>> react to what greg has said that. the u.s. had a fraught relationship with russia . when we look at it, do they have any diplomatic leverage to get snowden out of this place. and might that be happening, the downloading of information with snowden coming from the russian government .
>> he's an intelligence asset. any good intelligence service will try to see what they can obtain from him remains to be seen whether that will be anything at all. vladimir putin defines himself, like a quasi cold war figure. he defines russian power in terms of an anti-western view. the west is against assad, putin will help him. snowden serves the russian purpose right now. the united states has been throwing some rocks at russia and china, you know, for its cyber activity. this is an opportunity for both countries to pick up the stones and throw them back.
>> have you run into this before? former assistant secretary of state, have you heard of story lines like this in the past where somebody has been in this supposed area, terminals d, e, and f of an international airport ?
>> a lot its heart, it's a basic extradition request . this one obviously has a much more significant profile than we have seen in the past. but obviously interesting calculations. we have talked about russia . china, its motivation was just to not have edward snowden become the face or test of u.s./china relations. you have carrera and maduro, almost a competition as to who picks up the anti-american mantle from south america . it will be interesting to see what choices either of them makes over time and where he ultimately ends up.
>> is asylum still an option as jim ma say dough was saying. key escort him and take him to another country?
>> i think any of those things are possible. he doesn't really have travel papers . that was not barrier from getting from hong kong to moscow. there are multiple governments involved in these sort of transactions right now. and what's unclear is the extent to which snowden is in position to dictate his own fate. to what extent he can control the outcome here.
>> so you're saying it would be up to these respective governments they could be negotiating.
>> will he be able to choose what he thinks is the best option for him. i suppose that's possible. it may take time for him to work it out.
>> snowden 's father, as the three of us are aware through his attorney, negotiating with the u.s. government . and part of the request. he is saying he would like his son not be held in jail, not have a gag order , and allowed to choose location of the trial. those are just some of the requests through snowden 's father through an attorney. is there any chance of this as he has laid out the initial requests.
>> i think that would be a very difficult set of circumstances for the united states and the justice department to accept because one of the conditions is he's free until trial and there's no gag order . so snowden will come back to the united states and basically try the case not before a judge and jury but before the american public. but i think to greg 's point, he's exactly right. snowden at one point had his own options. but now i think they're narrowing. he is sitting at the airport in russia and has others who will make choice for him.
>> p.j., thank you. greg , thank you for your time as well.