A key House lawmaker took to the Sunday shows to make a stunning allegation – NSA leaker Edward Snowden was working hand-in-hand with Russia intelligence when he stole some 1.7 million classified documents from the United States.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chair of the House intelligence committee, had insinuated that Snowden was working with the Russians in the past. But in a series of appearances on Sunday talk shows Rogers made the connection more explicit.
“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,” Rogers said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Some of the things we're finding we would call clues that certainly would indicate to me that he had some help.”
When asked if the House is investigating Snowden’s activities prior to leaving the United States for Hong Kong and ultimately Moscow, Rogers said, "Absolutely. And that investigation is ongoing.”
“When you look at the totality of the information he took, the vast majority of it had to do with military, tactical and operational events happening around the world," Rogers said earlier on CBS’s Face the Nation.
Rogers wasn’t the only one claiming Snowden was being helped by the Russians. Sen. Diane Feinstein, speaking on Meet the Press, said that Snowden “may well have" had help from the KGB.
Elsewhere, on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, also said that Snowden had help from Moscow.
“Hey, listen, I don't think ... Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself," McCaul said. "I personally believe that he was cultivated by a foreign power to do what he did.”
The accusations come as the debate over NSA overreach entered a new stage, with President Obama outlining reforms to surveillance last week. They also come as the eyes of the world turn to Russia, which is hosting the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi next month.
In advance of the games, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking on This Week promised the games would be safe, despite a string of recent bombings by Chechen separatists. “We have adequate means available to us” including the Russian intelligence service and the military, Putin said. “If necessary, all those tools will be activated.”
Putin also said that Snowden would be allowed to attend the Olympic games. If Snowden did so, it would likely enrage the Obama administration. But it’s not out of the question -- time and time again, Putin has shown how much be enjoys embarrassing America.
“Mr. Snowden is subject to the treatment of provisional asylum here in Russia,” Putin said. “He has a right to travel freely across the country. He has no special limitation. He can just buy a ticket and come here.”
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