American whistleblower Edward J. Snowden, who exposed US government spying programs last summer, has denied allegations that he was a spy for Russia.In an interview with The New Yorker, the leaker called the suggestions by the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as “absurd” and “smears.”
Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, downloaded classified documents of the NSA and leaked them to journalists in June, showing how the agency is spying on communications of millions of Americans and people from foreign countries.
Snowden said the accusation, advanced by Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was “false,” saying that he had “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.”
There has been intense speculation about Snowden’s motives since June but “a senior FBI official said on Sunday that it was still the bureau’s conclusion that Mr. Snowden acted alone,” the New York Times reported this weekend.
The Russian government granted Snowden a temporary political asylum in August after the US cancelation of his passport.
Snowden told The New Yorker that “Russia was never intended” to be his place of asylum, but he “was stopped en route.” “I was only transiting through Russia. I was ticketed for onward travel via Havana—a planeload of reporters documented the seat I was supposed to be in—but the State Department decided they wanted me in Moscow, and cancelled my passport.”
Snowden is facing espionage charges in the United States.