Edward J. Snowden, the N.S.A. contractor who took hundreds of government documents last May vehemently denied today that he is a spy, in a rare interview from Moscow with The New Yorker released late Tuesday.
Speaking from Moscow, where he is a fugitive from American justice, Snowden told The New Yorker, ‘This ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd.’
This comes in response to a very hard line of suppositions expressed last Sunday by Congressman, Mike Rogers, R-Mich. On ‘Meet the Press.’ Senator Diane Feinstein stated later on Sunday to ‘Meet the Press’ that there was no proof against Snowden as a spy acting for a foreign government. She is not dismissing anything at this point, however.
Mike Rogers called Snowden a thief on ‘Meet the Press’. The show’s host, David Gregory, interjected, ‘You think the Russians helped Ed Snowden?’ Rogers replied that he believed it was neither ‘coincidence’ nor ‘a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the F.S.B.’
The New Yorker released an encrypted interview from Moscow Mr. Snowden, in a rare, he denied the allegations outright, stressing that he ‘clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.’ He added, ‘It won’t stick…. Because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.’
If he were a Russian spy, Snowden asked, ‘Why Hong Kong?’ And why, then, was he “stuck in the airport forever” when he reached Moscow? (He spent forty days in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport.) ‘Spies get treated better than that.’
The New York Times reported this week end that an F.B.I. official states that it is the belief of the bureau that Snowden acted alone.
In a report that Snowden stayed at the Russian embassy in Hong Kong, Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, denied that report, however, saying, ‘Every news organization in the world has been trying to confirm that story. They haven’t been able to, because it’s false.’
Snowden makes a powerful and insightful comment in the interview, ‘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?’ He continued, ‘The media has a major role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their responsibility to hold power to account.’
Snowden states that he intended to travel to South America and he had a ticket via Havana. The US cancelled his passport and forced the Bolivian President’s plane to land. If he could travel without U.S. interference, ‘I would of course do so.’
Snowden was adamant that he wants to help, not hurt, the United States. ‘Due to extraordinary planning involved, in nine months no one has credibly shown any harm to national security ‘from the revelations, he said, ‘or any ill intent.’
‘If any individual who objects to government policy can take it into their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, then we will not be able to keep our people safe, or conduct foreign policy,’ Obama said on Friday. ‘Moreover, the sensational way in which these disclosures have come out has often shed more heat than light, while revealing methods to our adversaries that could impact our operations in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come.’ And Obama told David Remnick, in an interview for The New Yorker, that the leaks ‘put people at risk” and that, in his view, the benefit of the debate Snowden generated ‘was not worth the damage done, because there was another way of doing it.’
Snowden closed the interview and stated that he ‘knew what he was getting into’ when he became a whistle-blower. “At least the American public has a seat at the table now,’ he said. ‘It may sound trite, ‘but if ‘I end up disgraced in a ditch somewhere, but it helps the country, it will still be worth it.’
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