There was a surprise guest questioner for one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's trademark televised news conferences on Thursday: Edward Snowden.

As the Washington Post's Kathy Lally reports, Snowden, appearing via video, asked Putin whether Russia systematically spies on its citizens.

"Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?" Snowden said. "And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies rather than subjects under surveillance?"

After a brief period in which the facilitator translated Snowden's question, Putin responded that there was no mass system of surveillance in Russia, according to the translation provided by the Russian government-funded TV station Russia Today.


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