Leading Politicians Claim Snowden Was Aided by Russia

Photo credit: Rena Schild/Shutterstock.com
Photo credit: Rena Schild/Shutterstock.com

Rogers offered no proof for this assertion, merely saying he did not believe that Snowden had the organizational skills to skip to Hong King, nor the technical skills to obtain the documents on his own. “Let me just say this," he told Meet the Press host David Gregory: "I believe there’s a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.” As for the skills used in exfiltrating the NSA documents, they were simply "beyond his technical capabilities."

This view was supported by House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas). Speaking from Moscow, the Texas Republican told ABC’s This Week, "Hey, listen, I don't think … Mr Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself. I think he was helped by others."

But the view is apparently not shared by Snowden's earlier co-workers. “That kid was a genius among geniuses,” said one NSA staffer (in a December article in Forbes). “NSA is full of smart people, but anybody who sat in a meeting with Ed will tell you he was in a class of his own... I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Some intelligence officials claim that although only 'privacy-related' material has been published, Snowden absconded with a huge trove of military secrets, and that they are convinced that Russia was given or could have obtained access to them. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate intelligence committee and a leading supporter of the NSA, also spoke to Meet the Press, suggesting that Snowden had joined the NSA “with the intent to take as much material down as he possibly could." Asked if he had received help from Russia, she replied, “He may well have. We don’t know at this stage."

Snowden himself has denied giving any documents to Russia. He told the New York Times in October that he took nothing with him further than Hong Kong. "Mr. Snowden," reported the newspaper, "said he gave all of the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, before flying to Moscow, and did not keep any copies for himself. He did not take the files to Russia 'because it wouldn’t serve the public interest,' he said.  'What would be the unique value of personally carrying another copy of the materials onward?' he added." 

“There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents,” Snowden said.

Rogers views are not currently supported by the FBI investigation into the Snowden leaks. "Nearly a year later," reported the New York Times yesterday, "there has been no public indication that the F.B.I.’s investigation of Mr. Snowden’s actions, bolstered by separate 'damage assessment' investigations at the N.S.A. and the Pentagon, has uncovered evidence that Mr. Snowden received help from a foreign intelligence service. A senior F.B.I. official said on Sunday that it was still the bureau’s conclusion that Mr. Snowden acted alone."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also denied any Russian involvement. "Speaking at a major news conference on December 19," reports Voice of Russia, "President Putin argued that Russian secret agents were not 'working with Snowden in the operative sense of the word. We have never worked with him in terms of [intelligence] operations... We are not accosting him with questions about the missions his former employer ran in Russia.'"

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