Snowden Calls Russian-Spy Story “Absurd”

by | Jan 21, 2014 | Stress Blog

Jane Mayer:

Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor turned whistleblower, strongly denies allegations made by members of Congress that he was acting as a spy, perhaps for a foreign power, when he took hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents. Speaking from Moscow, where he is a fugitive from American justice, Snowden told The New Yorker, ‘This ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd.’

On NBC’s ‘Meet The Press,’ Mike Rogers, a Republican congressman from Michigan who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, described Snowden as a ‘thief, who we believe had some help.’ The show’s host, David Gregory, interjected, ‘You think the Russians helped Ed Snowden?’ Rogers replied that he believed it was neither ‘coincidence’ nor ‘a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the F.S.B.’

Snowden, in a rare interview that he conducted by encrypted means from Moscow, denied the allegations outright, stressing that he ‘clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.’ He added, ‘It won’t stick”¦. Because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.’

If he was a Russian spy, Snowden asked, ‘Why Hong Kong?’ And why, then, was he ‘stuck in the airport forever’ when he reached Moscow? (He spent forty days in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport.) ‘Spies get treated better than that.’

In the nine months since Snowden first surfaced, there has been intense speculation about his motives and methods. But ‘a senior F.B.I. official said on Sunday that it was still the bureau’s conclusion that Mr. Snowden acted alone,’ the New York Times reported this weekend, adding that the agency has not publicly revealed any evidence that he was working in conjunction with any foreign intelligence agency or government.

Read the rest here. 

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