Snowden's camp: That staged Q&A with Putin was a screw-up

“It certainly didn’t go as he would’ve hoped,” one of these sources said. “I don’t think there’s any shame in saying that he made an error in judgment.”

“He basically viewed the question as his first foray into criticizing Russia. He was genuinely surprised that in reasonable corridors it was seen as the opposite,” added Ben Wizner, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who serves as one of Snowden’s closest advisers…

Wizner said he understood the revulsion: The interchange looked like cheap agitprop. “I know this is hard to believe. I know if I was just watching from afar, I’d think, ‘Wow, they forced him [Snowden] to do this,’” the ACLU attorney added. “But it’s not true. He just fucking did it.”

Snowden was mortified by the reaction, said Wizner and others. Within hours, the leaker decided to write an op-ed to clarify his position. Snowden decided to run it with the Guardian because of his long-standing relationship with the paper—which ran his first leak—and because he knew it would publish the piece instantly.