WASHINGTON, September 30 (RIA Novosti) – Anna Chapman, the red-haired Russian secret agent expelled from the United States in 2010, abruptly walked out of an interview with NBC television after being asked her about her marriage proposal to fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the network reported Monday.
“OK, the interview is finished. I’m sorry,” Chapman told correspondent Richard Engel after he asked her about the proposal she made on Twitter in July to Snowden, who is wanted in the United States on espionage charges and has received temporary asylum in Russia, NBC News reported.
Snowden, will you marry me?!— Anna (@ChapmanAnna) July 3, 2013
Chapman’s glamorous looks and racy photos made her the center of a global media frenzy after she was arrested in 2010 along with nine other individuals who admitted to secretly conspiring to work as Russian agents in the United States.
In a Cold War-style spy swap on a Vienna airport tarmac, the United States subsequently exchanged the so-called “sleeper agents,” which included married couples posing as Americans leading quiet suburban lives, for several individuals convicted of espionage in Russia.
Once back home, Chapman became something of a celebrity, modeling for men’s magazines, hosting a television show and becoming involved in charity work.
She agreed to give the interview to NBC to promote her Russian “Mysteries of the World” television program, which focuses on stories about ghosts and aliens, NBC reported. The theme of the show echoes the name of the multiyear US Federal Bureau of Investigation operation that led to her arrest, Operation Ghost Stories.
In the NBC interview, Chapman said she is a “very private, discreet person” who does not give many interviews because “I just don’t like to share.”
“I don’t believe that people would be interested in knowing about somebody’s life,” she said.
She did, however, reveal that she is not married. “If I was married, everybody would know,” she told NBC.
The abrupt end to the interview, NBC reported, came after Engel asked about a July 3 post to Chapman’s Twitter feed in which she wrote: “Snowden, will you marry me?!”
Snowden, a computer specialist and former US National Security Agency contractor, was living at the time in a transit zone in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport because his US passport had been revoked after he leaked classified information about widespread US government surveillance programs to the media.
Despite repeated US requests that Russia expel Snowden to face espionage charges at home over the leaks, Russia granted him temporary asylum nearly a month after Chapman’s proposal.
It remains unclear whether Chapman was serious or made the offer of marriage in jest.
“I don’t want to discuss America. I’m sorry,” Chapman told NBC when asked about the Snowden proposal, breaking off the interview shortly thereafter, the US network reported.