'I'm not a spy': Snowden dimisses allegations that he is working for Russia as 'absurd'

Whistleblower also acknowledged that he might  "end up disgraced in a ditch somewhere," saying "[if] it helps the country, it will still be worth it.”

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has strongly denied allegations by members of the US congress that he has been acting as a spy for Russia.

Snowden dismissed the theory in an interview with the New Yorker, stressing that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.”

“It won't stick, because it's clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are. This Russian spy push is absurd,” he said.

The accusations were made by Republican congressman Mike Rogers. He called Snowden a “thief, who we believe had some help” on American talkshow Meet the Press.

When asked by the show’s host if he thought that the Russians had helped Snowden, the congressman replied that it was not a “gee-whizz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the [Russian security services].”

Rogers, who is also the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, found support from another Republican congressman Michael McCaul, who suggested that Snowden was “cultivated by a foreign power”, but did not implicate Russia directly.

Snowden, a former NSA-contractor who revealed extensive internet and phone surveillance by US intelligence and has since been granted temporary asylum in Russia, points to his ungainly exit from the US as evidence that he acted independently. He first travelled to Hong Kong after releasing the leaked documents, before spending 40 days in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Aiport.

“Spies get treated better than that,” he said.

Another claim from Rogers - that it was suspicious that Snowden had a “go bag” ready and had “arranged travel before he left” – was also brushed off by Snowden, who noted that he’d had a “go bag packed since 2007. It’s not an exotic practice for people who have lived undercover on government orders.”

Barack Obama said last week that there had been no evidence of abuse by the NSA.

Read More: NSA surveillance revelations: Barack Obama announces reforms to bulk data collection and spying on heads of states

Snowden’s latest statements come just days after President Barack Obama responded to public outcry by announcing changes to how the US government conducts electronic surveillance.

Although Obama did not talk in length about Snowden in a speech that remained largely unapologetic for the activities of the NSA and others, he did say that “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.”

Anger against Snowden is reportedly less restrained amongst members of US intelligence agencies, with BuzzFeed reporting one anonymous Pentagon official as saying “I would love to put a bullet in his head."

"I do not take pleasure in taking another human beings life, having to do it in uniform, but he is single-handedly the greatest traitor in American history," said the unnamed individual.

Snowden remains adamant that his actions have helped America, saying that “due to extraordinary planning involved, in nine months, no one has credibly shown any harm to national security [arising from the leaks].”

He also acknowledged that although his life may be in danger he is happy to have brought the topic of mass surveillance to the attention of the American public. “It may sound trite,” he told the New Yorker, “[but if] I end up disgraced in a ditch somewhere, but it helps the country, it will still be worth it.”

Further Reading: Edward Snowden officially running to become student rector at Glasgow University
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: IT Infrastructure Engineer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Engineer

    £21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Liverpool - up to £28,000

    £22000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: This is a large multi-site operation...

    Recruitment Genius: Salesforce Developer

    £50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss