Did Snowden get Russian help? Some lawmakers think yes
January 19th, 2014
03:47 PM ET
9 months ago

Did Snowden get Russian help? Some lawmakers think yes

Washington (CNN) – While former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been holed up in Russia pending an asylum request, some in the intelligence community openly wonder if he’s received more help from the Russians than just a safe place to stay.

“Let me just say this: I believe there's a reason he ended up in the hands, in the loving arms of an FSB (Russia’s Federal Security Service) agent in Moscow. I don't think that's a coincidence,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”


Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, had similar comments.

“I don’t think Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself,” McCaul said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I think he was helped by others.”

And Michael Morell, former acting director of national intelligence, said he too has suspicions that America’s Cold War enemy may have given Snowden a helping hand.

“I don't have any particular evidence, 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,” Morell said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

Snowden fled to Russia following a short stay in Hong Kong last year after he turned over documents to journalists detailing the NSA’s storage of Americans’ phone records.

The revelations led to a debate over the program and outcry from civil liberties groups and prompted a review by the Obama administration.


Filed under: Edward Snowden
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. ChrisM

    Of course Snowden got help. What price did Snowden have to pay to Putin, an ex KGB officer, to stay Russia.

    January 19, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    The thing to remember about Mike Rogers is that not 1 in 100 Americans think he ever has the slightest idea what he's talking about, and of that 1 in 100, none actually believe he'd tell the truth about it if he did.

    January 19, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. JHC

    I would have had more respect for Snowden if he had blown the whistle on Comcast and Verizon who wish to make themselves the overlords/gatekeepers of the world internet/our private info and welfare corporations that run our politics and who have been deemed "people". But then that probably doesn't pay as well.

    January 19, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    I really hadn't thought of that, but sounds reasonable. Very convenient for Snowden to get airplane tickets,
    access into Hong Kong, then on to Russia. Wouldn't put past Putin and that makes Snowden even more of
    a traitor......if true.

    January 19, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. adc

    Just because the average security contractor is smarter than you doesn't mean he needs help to do stuff. Dimwits . . .

    January 19, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Erik

    This traitor deserves a cold dark cell, in the same block as Assange, Manning, and that blind sheik guy.

    January 19, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. RSorge

    The basic error, of course, was George Bush's policy of privatiizing government jobs. Snowden goes to work for a private company, not directly for the NSA, where he would have been more carefully screened.

    Way to go, George. Another black mark on your record as president.

    January 19, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. marik7

    Personally, I think Russia is being aided by John Boehner, among other American political "leaders." The only question is which other politicians are in bed with Putin? Hmmm!?!

    January 19, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. KS2 Problema

    Anything is presumably possible.

    But some things are virtually certain: if you humiliate the professional spooks - showing how easy it is to upend the secrecy they stake their professional status on - you can expect to be the object of concerted efforts to discredit and denigrate you.

    That much is sure.

    Beyond that, a lot of serious-minded, not-very-naive US citizens think that, whatever the motivations, whatever the mechanisms, the Snowden leaks provided an important and much needed service for the flagging health of democracy and constitutionally guaranteed freedom in the United States.

    Maybe we should 'thank' Russia, too?

    January 19, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. jerry bigness

    Govt is giving Snowden a Snowjob now? This is the govts idea of damage control. They did the same thing with Wikileaks and Assange.

    January 19, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    If the Congress wasn't trying to hang him........things might be different.

    Rogers is the perfect example of someone who wants to lynch, vs. listen.

    January 19, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Donald McIntyre

    Killing the memessenger>

    Next: he is gay, he has a black mother, his great grandfather was a muslim, his father was in a communist meetup in 1954, blah,blah, blah...

    Regardless of Mr Snowden the fact is bad things about the US and its NSA where uncovered, very bad things.

    January 19, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Robert

    The idea that Snowden had help from Russia is laughable and really a stretch. There is zero evidence he had any contact with Russia before Obama forced him to flee.

    Instead I think some politicians are angling for a move up the political ladder, and will say anything to get elected or re-elected, or to get safely in the financial pocket of the security-military-industrial-complex. Additionally, I think some lawmakers should be brought up on charges for even suggesting such nonsense. Those lawmakers should be voted out of office, if only for their sheer stupidity.

    Putin may be a snake in the grass, fulfilling his secret homosexual desires by beating gays to a pulp, but the Russians are otherwise a very enlightened and peaceful people. Bad leaders always come and go, on both sides, but in the end reasonable people will always prevail.

    This is all pure conjecture and nonsense, and nothing more.

    January 19, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. lisa

    I call bull on that. The NSA has nobody to blame for Snowden but themselves. They sure can't blame Russia for the mess they created.

    Point of fact - prior to Snowden there were NSA officials at some of the highest levels who attempted to notify their supervisors, member of Congress and the media about abuses within the NSA. How did the NSA respond to them? Their homes were raided, (one man was taken out of the shower at gunpoint and his wife and child made to watch as their home was ransacked), they lost their careers, their security clearances, etc., etc. (Take a moment to read USA Today's June 16, 2013 article on Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. KIrk Wiebe who ATTEMPTED to go through the "proper channels" to express their concerns to the NSA.) By setting an example such as this the NSA made it impossible for any sane person to express concerns, much less whistleblow, from within the organization. That left the situation wide open to someone taking their concerns outside the organization as Snowden (wisely) did.

    So they screwed up and now suddenly it's a "Red Threat." How conveniently that card gets pulled out when someone in the government needs it. No, NSA, Snowden went to Russia because he had to get the heck out of Dodge or you'd have imprisoned him and thrown away the key pronto. You would have shot the messenger in a heartbeat. He had to go somewhere and Russia took him in.

    January 19, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. TOM TOM

    I don't have any particular evidence, 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,” Morell said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”-Looks like the US is grabbing at straws...Snowden is a HERO for exposing the NWO & it's puppets...Remeber, Our Elected leaders SWORE to uphole Our CONSTITUTION, Do you think Spying on ALL Americans,is upholding that important document that so many Americans fought & died for...This all started with Bush / Cheney and goes on with Obama / Biden...This Country is in DEEP TROUBLE folks...And this is just the things we know...GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    January 19, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    This is hilarious. "I don't have any particular evidence...." he says after accusing him of treason. I just like to start ubsubstantiated smear claims to distract from our subversion of the US constitution.

    I love our man Greg Clary's opening sentence:
    " While former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been holed up in Russia pending an asylum request, some in the intelligence community openly wonder if he’s received more help from the Russians than just a safe place to stay."

    So tell us Greg, are you "holed up in America"?

    January 19, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. seamus mcdermott

    " While former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been holed up in Russia pending an asylum request, some in the intelligence community openly wonder if he’s received more help from the Russians than just a safe place to stay."

    I don't have any particular evidence, but has Greg Clary been turned by the CIA? Did he have help writing this story?
    Is Clary "holed up" in America?
    What a joke.

    January 19, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. Funny

    Mike Rogers also said in June 2013 that Snowden was lying and couldn't possibly have taken
    the information. He was wrong then too. Snowden did not keep copies of the info and is not arranging publication;
    journalists are. Mike Rogers is a shill and they are trying to reframe the Snowden narrative based upon speculation once again.

    From a June 13, 2013 article in thehill dot com:

    "The NSA leaker is lying about both his access to information and the scope of the secret surveillance programs he uncovered, the heads of the House Intelligence Committee charged Thursday.

    Emerging from a hearing with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said Edward Snowden simply wasn't in the position to access the content of the communications gathered under National Security Agency programs, as he's claimed.

    "He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actually technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."

    January 19, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. kylevpirate

    Maybe the motive was to bring coverage of an illegal spying program that violate everyone's privacy and rights! The truth I'd everyone knew the government was listening but they did not want to accept it, those people were labeled conspiracy theorist and we were right all along. Its disgusting that people allow this to happen, and its disgusting that news sources are enabling this to happen showcasing the government as the victim.

    January 19, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. will galison

    "Some lawmakers think yes"…. and nearly ALL the lawmakers thought that going to war to confiscate its non-exisitant WMD. All of the Mormon lawmakers think that Joseph Smith (peace be upon him) received golden tablets from the Angel Moroni, and a good portion don't believe in evolution.

    And their "evidence" is that nobody is that smart? They are not in a position to judge. That he ended up in Russia? Where else would they have suggested?

    I hope the WaPo will keep publishing these "lawmakers thoughts" in bold print so that they can look even stupider when these claims are unequivocally dismissed.

    January 19, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. John

    Nonsense. Putin is happy that America is embarrassed by its own crimes. This just an attempt to recycle mess that NSA got itself in. Just a counter-attack and a cheap one.

    Snowdon easily passed on his hard drives to others while in Hong Kong and the material is safely being disseminated. The Russian got nothing that Snowdon has not released. Of course, there is more to come

    January 19, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  22. bearfoot

    R U serious... dream on mr. rogers... i'm sure you thought that chris christie would've made an honest candidate for president...keep dreamin'...and hold your breath please !

    January 19, 2014 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  23. haroun

    Dead man walking.

    January 19, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. JLA

    Really!? Congress forgot that more than 1 million people need their Emergency Unemployment benefits to pay bills and support their families. Not surprising. It sure doesn't seem that Republicans are for the people they are for themselves. They are looking forward to their 1 week vacation. While millions in the United States are worried about how they are going to eat and pay bills. OMG

    January 19, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. WD

    II despise being indebted to Russia or Putin for protecting America's "Tiananmen tank man." Just what sort of Twilight zone reality was this ever to have been possible?

    A more just future will find Alexander and Clapper executed for treason, Mike Rogers expelled for gross incompetence, and the NSA completely dismantled due to the danger they pose to our nation.

    No NSA employee should ever hold a government job again. And they should be grateful for any mercies which keep them from the gallows.

    January 19, 2014 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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