House Intelligence Chairman: Snowden Had Help

SnowdenREUTERS/Thomas PeterA woman holds a portrait of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in front of her face as she stands in front of the U.S. embassy during a protest in Berlin, July 4, 2013.

Mike Rogers (Rep.-Mich.),
Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,thinks that Edward Snowden had help when he downloaded
as many as 200,000classified NSA documents and fled to Hong Kong.

“We know he did some things capability-wise that was beyond his capabilities. Which means he used someone else’s help to try and steal things from the United States,” Rogers, who receives regular briefings on the investigation, told Fox News.

Glenn Greenwald, one of two journalists reportedly given a large set of NSA documents, described Rogers’ claims as baseless: “Until he offers actual evidence, rather than his empty assertions, everyone should treat this claim as the unreliable and unconfirmed propaganda that it is,” Greenwald told Fox News in an email.

A previous report by Reuters said Snowden convinced more than 20 NSA employees to give up their passwords so that he could access classified information in Hawaii, but the comments by Rogers seem to go further.

“There was some activity there in China about who he talked to and what was the purpose of his visit there, how was it arranged, how did he arrange a visa so quickly to Russia? Those kinds of questions have not been answered in a satisfactory way,” Rogers added.

It is unclear what occurred during stretches before and after the 30-year-old gave documents to American journalists in China.

Snowden arrived in Hong Kong on May 20 reportedly carrying “four laptop computers that [enabled] him to gain access to some of the US government’s most highly-classified secrets.”

Around June 1, he met Greenwald, filmmaker Laura Poitras, and Guardian journalist Ewan MacAskill. After exposing his identity on June 9 in a video filmed by Poitras, Snowden went underground — reportedly staying with friends and moving around — before flying to Moscow on June 23.

Snowden claimed to The New York Times that he gave all of the classified documents to the journalists he met in Hong Kong and kept no copies himself, but the notion that he gave up access to the documents around June 10 does not jibe with his previous statements and actions.

On August 31 Snowden’s lawyer, who is employed by Russia’s security services (i.e., FSB), told Russia Today that Snowden had not contacted any Russian diplomats before he left Hong Kong. However, three days later Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that Snowden reached out to Kremlin officials.

There are also questions about when WikiLeaks became involved since the organisation coordinated Snowden’s flight from Hong Kong while being linked to Poitras and Greenwald as well as Russia.

Snowden’s life in Russia has been dictated by the FSB.

Greenwald followed up with Fox News and said: “I contacted Snowden, who confirms that he ‘acted alone and without outside assistance of any kind.'”

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