WASHINGTON – US lawmakers are investigating if Edward Snowden, a fugitive whistleblower who lifted the lid on America’s sweeping secret surveillance programme, was actually working for Russia and revealing the government secrets, the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have said.
“I believe there’s a reason he ended up in the hands – the loving arms – of an FSB agent in Moscow. I don’t think that’s a coincidence,” US Representative Mike Rogers told the NBC programme Meet the Press.
He was referring to the Russian intelligence agency that is a successor of the Soviet-era KGB.
Snowden is presently at an undisclosed location in Russia where he has taken a temporary refuge after the US government issued a warrant against him. He faces espionage charges in America.
Rogers chairs the House Intelligence. He had earlier made the same allegations against Snowden “Face the Nation” programme.
“There are some security things that he did get around that are clearly above his capabilities,” Rogers said.
“Some of the things we’re finding we would call clues that certainly would indicate to me that he had some help.”
Asked if he was investigating Russian links to Snowden’s activities, Rogers said, “Absolutely. And that investigation is ongoing.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on the same programme that Snowden “may well have” had help from Russia.
“We don’t know at this stage,” Feinstein said.
This is not a first time that Snowden has been accused of working for foreign agencies since his first disclosure last year.
However, there has never been solid evidence in public indicating that Snowden has received any help from foreign spy agencies. The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The probe agency has maintained that if has found no proof in its “damage assessment” investigations confirming Snowden’s external links.
A senior FBI official said on Sunday that it was still the bureau’s conclusion that Snowden acted alone, according to a New York Times report.
But Rogers described him as a man who, from the beginning, might have knowingly or unknowingly been directed by a foreign intelligence service.
He said the mass of military data in the Snowden trove clearly had nothing to do with privacy or the reach of intelligence services.