Did Snowden have help from the Russians?

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
Yahoo News
In this image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia. Should Snowden ever return to the U.S., he would face criminal charges for leaking information about NSA surveillance programs. But legal experts say a trial could expose more classified information as his lawyers try to build a case in an open court that the operations he exposed were illegal. (AP Photo)
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In this image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia. Should Snowden ever return to the U.S., he would face criminal charges for leaking information about NSA surveillance programs. But legal experts say a trial could expose more classified information as his lawyers try to build a case in an open court that the operations he exposed were illegal. (AP Photo)

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., says National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden might have had help from Russia.

"I believe there's a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of [a Russian Federal Security Service] agent in Moscow," Rogers said on "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "I don't think that's a coincidence, No. 1. ... I don't think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB."

Snowden, who fled the United States after his leak of classified documents to the Guardian newspaper, was granted asylum by the Russian government last year.

“I can guarantee you, he's in the loving arms of an FSB agent right today, and that's not good for the United States,” Rogers said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “It's not good for the information to be shared with nation states.

“There's some clear evidence there that something else was going on," Rogers continued. "This wasn't a random smash and grab, run down the road, end up in China, the bastion of Internet freedom, and then Russia, of course, the bastion of Internet freedom. And because of the nature of the information that was stolen [had] nothing to do with Americans' privacy [and] a lot to do with our operations overseas."

Rogers implied Snowden was not skilled enough to pull off the leak alone. "Some of the things he did were beyond his technical capabilities," Rogers said. "[That] raises more questions. How he arranged travel before he left.  How he was ready to go — he had a go bag, if you will."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, was also asked on "Meet the Press" if she believed Snowden had help from the Russians.

"He may well have," she said. "We don't know at this stage."

On CBS, Mike Morell, a former deputy CIA director, agreed with Rogers' assessment.

“I don't have any particular evidence," Morell said, "but one of the things that I point to when I talk about this is that the disclosures that have been coming recently are very sophisticated in their content and sophisticated in their timing, almost too sophisticated for Mr. Snowden to be deciding on his own. And seems to me, he might be getting some help."

In an interview with the New York Times last year, Snowden said he did not take any classified documents with him to Russia, saying he had given all of the files to journalists in Hong Kong.

"I'm not going to dwell on Mr. Snowden's actions or motivations," President Barack Obama said on Friday while announcing an overhaul of the NSA spying program. "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."

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