House Intelligence Chairman Implies Snowden Had Help From Russians
By Eyder Peralta
Rep. Mike Rogers made some strong allegations against former NSA contractor Edward Snowden on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.
Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, implied that Snowden received helped from Russia's security service both to steal the highly classified documents and then to travel to Russia, where he received temporary asylum.
"'He was stealing information that had to do with how we operate overseas to collect information to keep Americans safe.... And some of the things he did were beyond his technical capabilities' — a fact which Rogers said 'raises more questions. How he arranged travel before he left. How he was ready to go, he had a go bag, if you will.'
"Rogers added that he believes 'there's a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB (Russian security service) agent in Moscow. I don't think that's a coincidence....I don't think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.'"
In an interview with The New York Times in October, Snowden said he had ditched all the classified documents he took by the time he landed in Russia.
The revelations made by Snowden spurred President Obama to issue reforms of an NSA program that collects a vast amount of metadata on Americans' phone calls.
During a speech on Friday, where Obama unveiled reforms to some NSA programs, he referred to Snowden only in passing.
"Given the fact of an open investigation, I'm not going to dwell on Mr. Snowden's actions or motivations. I will say that our nation's defense depends in part on the fidelity of those entrusted with our nation's secrets. If any individual who objects to government policy can take it in their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, then we will never be able to keep our people safe, or conduct foreign policy."
The chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein was asked if she thought Snowden had help from the Russians.
"He may well have," she said. "We don't know at this stage."
Snowden has been charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property.