Snowden gave a rare interview yesterday, to refute claims that he’s a Russian spy.
“This ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd,” Snowden told The New Yorker.
On Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, called Snowden a “thief, who we believe had some help.”
“You think the Russians helped Ed Snowden?” host David Gregory asked.
It was neither “coincidence” nor “a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the F.S.B,” Rogers said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rogers’ Senate counterpart, was more careful, but didn’t refute the claim. “He may well have,” she said. “We don’t know at this stage.”
Snowden scoffed at the congressmen—and the media that repeated their claims. “Why Hong Kong?” he asked. And why was he “stuck in the airport forever” when he arrived in Moscow, he asked. Snowden spent forty days in limbo in a Russian airport before Russian authorities allowed him into the country. “Spies get treated better than that.”
It’s not the first time Rogers has made the claims, though federal officials have made it clear they believe Snowden worked alone. “It’s not the smears that mystify me,” Snowden said. “It’s that outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.”
(“ ‘We don’t know if he had help from aliens.’” Snowden joked. “‘You know, I have serious questions about whether he really exists.’”)
He went on: “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?…The media has a major role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their responsibility to hold power to account.”