WASHINGTON — Here’s a preview of a quote you’ll probably hear on this week’s edition of NPR’s “Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me”: “You know, I have serious questions about whether he really exists.”
Who’s the speaker? Edward Snowden, of course, speaking about none other than Edward Snowden.
Responding to allegations from certain truculent members of Congress that he’s in fact a Russian spy, Snowden sat down somewhere in cyberspace for an interview with the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. Snowden denied the allegations leveled at him by Alabama’s Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, calling claims that he’s in bed with Moscow’s intelligence services “absurd.”
Rogers, one of the more reliable Capitol Hill defenders of the intelligence community, has made it something of a mission to discredit Snowden. He’s called him a traitor and has repeatedly made the case that the Snowden disclosures have harmed U.S. national security. On Sunday, he went one step further and hinted on “Meet the Press” that Snowden might just be in the employ of the Russian security services. “I believe there’s a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow,” Rogers fumed, referring to the KGB’s successor organization. “I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.”
And so to The New Yorker Snowden went. Rejecting Rogers’ claims, Snowden told the magazine that he had “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.” He appeared untroubled by Rogers’ wild accusations, arguing that the charges “won’t stick” because they are “clearly false.” More importantly, “the American people are smarter than politicians think they are,” he said.