In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, U.S. Representative Mike Rogers said that there may have been a reason Snowden “ended up in the hands – the loving hands” of an FSB agent while in Russia; the FSB is the Russian intelligence agency that had succeeded Soviet-era agency KGB. “I don’t think that’s a coincidence,” added Rogers, who is the head of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. Last year, Snowden had fled the United States and eventually sought asylum in Russia, where he has remained as U.S. government officials continue to seek his return to his home country for prosecution. Snowden’s leak, which had covered a good number of top-secret documents, is considered one of the biggest security breaches in U.S. history.
Rogers did not disclose any empirical evidence that backs up his supposition that Russian spies or spy agencies were involved in the major leak, but suggested that some of his findings may point to the possibility that Snowden did not act on his own. “Some of the things we’re finding we would call clues that certainly would indicate to me that he had some help,” said Rogers. He also acknowledged that his investigation into Russia’s involvement in Snowden’s activities is “absolutely” ongoing. His comments were somewhat seconded by Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who told Meet the Press that while it isn’t sure whether Snowden acted with help or not, he “may well have” had been assisted by Russia.
In a separate interview with CBS, Rogers pointed to the nature of the leaked documents as the best hint that Snowden was assisted by Russia. “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,” said Rogers, being interviewed by Face the Nation. On that program, former deputy CIA director Michael Morell said that he does not have any evidence either, but stressed that the leaked documents may have been too “sophisticated” in terms of content and in the timing of their leakage for Snowden to handle on his own. “It seems to me he might be getting some help,” he said.
Late last year, Snowden told The New York Times that he did not bring any of the leaked NSA documents with him when he fled to Russia in June 2013. In that interview, he told the Times that there is a “zero percent chance” anyone from Russia or from China had received these documents. Meanwhile, Snowden was also cleared by President Vladimir Putin to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, as he is free to travel within the country. “Mr. Snowden is subject to the treatment of provisional asylum here in Russia,” said Putin. “He has a right to travel freely across the country. He has no special limitation. He can just buy a ticket and come here.”