National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden denied allegations that he was acting as a Russian spy when he took classified intelligence documents and later fled the U.S.
“This ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd,” Snowden told the New Yorker in an interview conducted over what that publication called “encrypted means.” Snowden added that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.”
Snowden’s comments follow remarks made by Senate Intelligence Select Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers on Sunday.
Rogers, appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, raised the possibility that Snowden acted with Russian support. “I believe there’s a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow,” said Rogers, referencing Russia’s main internal-security apparatus. “I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.”
Feinstein was then asked by Meet the Press host David Gregory if she agreed that Snowden might have had Russian support. “He may well have,” she responded, before adding that “we don’t know at this stage.”
Snowden told the New Yorker the Russian spy allegations “won’t stick” because they’re “clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.”