Russian President Vladimir Putin called the massive U.S. surveillance programs, revealed last week by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, “generally practicable” and “the way a civilized society should go about fighting terrorism.” His comments, made in a far-ranging interview to the state-backed news network RT, seemed to defend programs that have been deeply controversial in the United States and much of Europe, offering an endorsement that the Obama administration is probably not thrilled to receive.

He said of the New York city police response to Occupy Wall Street, in a comment that seemed consistent with much of his sympathy toward controversial U.S. programs, “That’s the way it’s done in the U.S., and that’s the way it’s done in Russia.” That’s not really true, of course – the United States doesn’t sentence people who sing anti-Obama songs to labor camps – but it is unlikely to convince many U.S. critics of NSA or drone programs.