Russia to use typewriters to stop leaks

A Russian state agency charged with protecting President Vladimir Putin and keeping Kremlin communications safe is reportedly turning to old-fashioned typewriters to prevent leaks of top secret documents.

The Federal Guard Service is planning to spend more than 486,000 rubles ($14,800) to buy electric typewriters, according to announcement on the state procurement agency website,

Pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia said the service will purchase typewriters because using computers to prepare top-secret documents may no longer be safe.

“After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposés by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened in on during his visit to the G20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents,” the newspaper quoted a Federal Guard Service source as saying.

Izvestia went on to note that typewriters have individual type patterns which can be used to identify which machine a leaked paper document came from.

Fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who has been stuck in the Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport transit zone for nearly three weeks, revealed widespread international collection of phone and internet data.

Putin refused to extradite Snowden to the U.S., saying he had not actually entered Russia. “As a transit passenger he is entitled to buy a ticket and fly to wherever he wants,” Putin said.

“Snowden is a free person,” Putin said. “The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it is for him and Russia.”

On Thursday, a Russian court convicted dead whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky of fraud. Magnitsky, a lawyer who found a $230 million fraud by police and tax officials, was arrested and charged with the fraud himself. He died in a Moscow prison in 2009, reportedly after a severe beating.

Also convicted Thursday, in absentia, was Magnitsky’s employer, investment manager William Browder, who called the verdict “one of the most shameful moments for Russia since the days of Joseph Stalin.”

“This is the first conviction of a dead man in Europe in the last ten centuries,” Browder said.

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