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NEW YORK, January 29. /ITAR-TASS/. There is no evidence that Russia assisted ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden, who handed to media data on large-scale surveillance programs by US authorities. Chairperson of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Dianne Feinstein made this statement in an interview to US-based TV outlet MSNBC.
January 19, in an interview to several American TV channels Feinstein and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of the US House of Representatives Mike Rogers stated that Russian secret services could cooperate with Snowden during his employment at NSA, which is in charge of electronic surveillance. At the same time, the lawmakers admitted that they had no precise data on this.
On a direct question whether Russia helped Snowden, Rogers then reacted: “Let me just say this. 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. We have questions that we have to answer.” Feinstein, in her turn, stated that Snowden “may well have” been aided by Russians.
Later, many representatives of the US administration told media on condition of anonymity that there was no evidence of Russia’s involvement in Snowden’s activities.
On the previous week, Snowden himself in an interview to The New Yorker magazine gave an outright denial to speculations of US lawmakers. He stressed that he was acting alone, and nobody aided him, far less any government. All attempts to present him as Russia’s agent the NSA leaker called absurd and lies.
In the US, Snowden is charged of two felonies under the Espionage Act of 1917: Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information and Willful Communication of Classified Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person. In addition, he is accused of theft of government property. Under each article, he may face up to 10 years in jail.