Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress More than 50 dead, one rescued in Russian mine explosion NATO to discuss ways to deter Russia: Lithuanian official MORE condemned Edward Snowden's 2013 release of confidential NSA documents as "wrong" but defended Snowden against accusations of treason in a new interview released Thursday. He said in a show airing this month on Showtime that Snowden "didn’t betray the interest of his country."
Putin made the comments to interviewer Oliver Stone as part of "The Putin Interviews," which will air on Showtime on June 12.
Stone is best known as the director of "Wall Street," "Natural Born Killers" and "Snowden," in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Snowden.
Snowden currently lives in exile in Russia for leaking NSA documents that detailed international bulk surveillance operations.
In newly released clips from the interview, Putin reveals that he sees Snowden's actions as legal but not moral.
"I think he shouldn’t have done it," Putin said of Snowden's actions. "If he didn’t like anything at his work he should have simply resigned. But he went further. That’s his right. But since you are asking me whether it's right or wrong, I think it’s wrong."
Earlier in the interview, Putin said that Snowden had not taken any actions against the United States during or after the leaks.
"Snowden is not a traitor. He didn’t betray the interest of his country. Nor did he transfer any information to any other country which would have been pernicious to his own country or to his own people." said Putin.
Putin, an ex-KGB agent, is known for his tight-gripped rule over Russia as well as an unrivaled intelligence operation against the United States.
During the interview, Putin said that Russian intelligence suffers from the problems he implied he saw with the NSA.
"Our intelligence services always conform to the law. That’s the first thing. And secondly, trying to spy on your allies if you really consider them allies and not vassals is just indecent. Because it undermines trust. And it means that in the end it deals damage to your own national security," he said.