Earlier we had reported how lawmakers in the U.S. are accusing Edward Snowden, the ex-NSA contractor and whistle-blower of being a Russian spy, today Snowden has categorically denied the allegations that he was a Russian spy and acting on behalf of a foreign hand. In a statement to The New Yorker, he said, “this ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd.”
Mike Rogers, a Republican congressman from Michigan, on NBC’s “Meet The Press”, had alleged that Snowden had foreign assistance in spying. “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,” he had commented.
There were other senior politicians who shared his opinion. Sen. Dienne Feinstein (chairperson of the Senate), Michael Morell (former Deputy CIA Director), and Rep. Mike McCaul (House Homeland Security Committee Chairman) are few of them.
Snowden, who is a fugitive in Moscow, through an encrypted interview denied allegations and said he, “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.”
Adding that the American people are smart enough, he said, “It won’t stick…. Because it’s clearly false.”
Questioning the allegations by politicians, Snowden said if he were a Russian spy, why he went to Hong Kong and what could be the explanation for his forty days transit zone stay at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow.
“Spies get treated better than that,” he told in the interview.
Responding to the “go bag pack” comment of Rogers, Snowden said he had “a go bag packed since 2007. It’s not an exotic practice for people who have lived undercover on government orders.” It only describes his overseas work for CIA and nothing more.
Snowden expressed his displeasure at media that carried such baseless allegations. He said, “It’s not the smears that mystify me. It’s that outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.” He poked fun at the range of allegations against him without any factual basis and the role media has played in the whole episode.
He said, “It’s just amazing that these massive media institutions don’t have any sort of editorial position on this. I mean, these are pretty serious allegations, you know?”
He continued, “The media has a major role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their responsibility to hold power to account.”
Snowden replied about his stay in Russia that he never intended to make it his home but was not left with any option, “when we were talking about possibilities for asylum in Latin America, the United States forced down the Bolivian President’s plane.”
Snowden also reaffirmed that his intentions were to help the US and not hurt. He also added that, “the President himself admitted both that changes are necessary and that he is certain the debate my actions started will make us stronger.”
Snowden ended the interview saying, “At least the American public has a seat at the table now…It may sound trite,” but if, “I end up disgraced in a ditch somewhere, but it helps the country, it will still be worth it.”
Rogers declined to comment on the reasons for his allegations against Snowden after the encrypted interview saw light of the day. An aide to Sen. Feinstein defended her action saying that she did no more than ask questions.