World renowned cyber-security expert Eugene Kaspersky doesn't pull any punches when talking about his feeling towards whistleblower Edward Snowden – believing the former NSA employee is a "traitor" and "belongs in the ninth circle of hell."
Kaspersky made the comments at the opening of his company's new UK headquarters near Paddington in London, and were in response to a question about what his views were on the whistleblower.
In the first part of Dante Alighieri's epic 14th century poem Divine Comedy, the poet describes his journey through Hell, comprising of nine circles.
The ninth circle of hell is reserved for traitors, with four 'Rounds' within the ninth circle, with the final one - called Judecca after Judas Iscariot – reserved for those who betrayed their lords and benefactors. Dante describes this part of hell as just one removed from the Satan himself.
Unlike the typical depiction of hell, the ninth circle consists of an icy lake in which traitors of all kinds are frozen to progressively greater depths.
Hero or villain?
Kaspersky claimed that Snowden should not be held up as a hero, because he at some point signed a contract with the NSA to keep the information he is now leaking secret and by breaking that contract he was betraying his employer and by extension his government
Snowden was not employed directly by the NSA, but worked for an NSA contractor called Booz Allen Hamilton as an "infrastructure analyst" in his own words.
The reaction to Snowden's leaks has varied wildly depending on geography and political outlook, with some hailing him as an American hero, while many others join Kaspersky in condemning him as a traitor.
Kaspersky is a well-known figure in the cyber-security industry and has built his eponymous company into the largest privately-held vendor of software security in the world.
Edward Snowden is currently residing in an unknown location within Kaspersky's homeland of Russia, but the cyber-security icon has no desire to ever meet the whistleblower.
Snowden was given temporary political asylum in Russia by President Putin on 1 August, having spent over a month in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. It is unclear what Snowden's future holds as President Obama is still seeking his extradition back to the US where he is facing charges of espionage and theft of government property.