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Lawmakers accuse Snowden of being Russian spy

Two of the top lawmakers within the United States intelligence community say that Congress is now considering whether any officials in the Russian government have influenced the actions of US National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Snowden, 30, has been  in the Moscow area since last June when he became stranded there  during a layover from Hong Kong after US authorities revoked his  American passport. Seven months later, though, the heads of the  United States House and Senate Intelligence Committees now claim  that the former NSA contractor could very well be linked to the  Russian government.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein  (D-California) — chairpersons of the House and Senate committees,  respectively — each opined as to a secret Snowden-Russia  relationship during appearances on the political talk show  circuit this weekend.

Speaking on the CBS Program Face the Nation, Rep. Rogers  suggested that a foreign nation state would more than likely have  had a large role in influencing the type of intelligence  taken by Mr. Snowden.

“When you look at the totality of the information he took,  the vast majority of it had to do with military, tactical and  operational events happening around the world,” he told the  news program.

When Rogers caught up with Meet the Press host David Gregory at  NBC News’ Washington, DC studios this weekend, he more explicitly  implied that Russian’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, has had  more than just a minor role with regards to Mr. Snowden’s  activities.

“I believe there’s a reason he ended up in the hands – the  loving arms – of an FSB agent in Moscow,” Rep. Rogers said  during a Meet the Press appearance that aired on Sunday “I  don’t think that’s a coincidence,” he said.

Asked during that same program if she thinks Snowden has been  working on behalf of the Russians, Sen. Feinstein responded,   “He may well have.”

“We don’t know at this stage,” Feinstein said.

According to the   Huffington Post, both Rogers and Feinstein admitted to being  involved in investigations tasked with examining into that  possibility.

As far as other senior officials are concerned, though, there  isn’t any clear connection between Snowden and Russia just yet,  aside from the fact, of course, that the former NSA contractor’s  fate for the time being rests in the hands of Moscow officials.  Russia Federal Migration service approved  Mr. Snowden’s request for temporary asylum last August, and he is  at this point free to roam the country through at least July 31,  2014. At that point, he may again have to appeal to the Russian  government for assistance.

Senior US officials haven’t found evidence of any sort of link  just yet, according to   Reuters. The news outlet reported250x250-bulletproof2 on Sunday that unnamed  officials claimed just days earlier that the US “has no  evidence at all that Snowden had any confederates who assisted  him or guided him about what NSA materials to hack or how to do  so.”

“There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have  received any documents,” Mr. Snowden himself said during an  interview with the New York Times back in October.

Meanwhile, however, the recent remarks courtesy of Rep. Rogers  and Sen. Feinstein — two of the most adamant critics in Congress  when it comes to Snowden’s actions — could lend other lawmakers  to consider some sort of Russian connection that up until now has  been undiscoverable.

Even before the chairpersons’ remarks were broadcast to the  world, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) was on the ABC program This  Week to weigh the Snowden saga.

“I don’t think…Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the  wherewithal to do this all by himself. I think he was helped by  others,” the lawmaker said.

“I personally believe that he was cultivated by a foreign  power to do what he did. And he — I would submit, again, that  he’s not a hero by any stretch. He’s a traitor. He — he lives not  very far down the street from where I am right now, enjoying  probably less freedoms today here in Russia than he had in the  United States of America,” McCaul continued.

Asked by This Week host George Stephanopoulos if he specifically  though the Russians had helped Snowden through his ordeal, McCaul  responded, “You know, to say definitely, I can’t — I can’t  answer that.”


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