Snowden on Russia spy charge: 'Absurd'
Edward Snowden has denied working for the Russians in stealing NSA documents. The accusation that Snowden colluded with the Russians was made by intel commitee chair Rep. Mike Rogers on Sunday.
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden denied accusations that he was working for a foreign government when he stole countless classified documents detailing U.S. surveillance programs and efforts to gather information on world leaders.
In an interview with the New Yorker, published Tuesday evening on the magazine's Web site, Snowden said claims that he may have been working for the Russians as a spy were "absurd."
On NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Snowden a "thief." Rogers said he believed somebody must have helped Snowden steal the documents.
Rogers rejected the notion that it was a coincidence that Snowden eventually found refuge in Russia. But the lawmaker offered no proof that Snowden was working in concert with Russian intelligence.
Snowden told the magazine that he "clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government." He said the allegations wouldn't "stick," adding that they were false and that "the American people are smarter than politicians think they are."
The CIA's Counterintelligence Center has been conducting an exhaustive investigation to determine whether Snowden had help or whether someone assisted him unwittingly. So far, the CIA and the FBI have not turned up evidence that another country recruited Snowden to take the documents.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also did not rule out that Snowden received assistance. "He may well have," she said on "Meet the Press."
Speaking from Moscow, Snowden said, "It's not the smears that mystify me," and wondered why media outlets would report the congressman's claims, because they amounted to baseless speculation.
You would think that if they hadn't found a connection by now, there isn't one to be discovered. But Snowden being "mystified" about why the opinion of the House Intelligence Committee chair should be disseminated by the media proves how truly clueless and naive this young man is. Rogers may be attempting to smear Snowden and damage his reputation by making baseless accusations, but the media is duty bound to report it because by any definition, it's "news."
Snowden believes his hands are clean and I see no reason to doubt that. But there is also no doubt that he had help leaving the country and making his way originally to Hong Kong. Who assisted him and what their motives were remains a mystery.