House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., expressed concern Sunday that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden worked with Russian intelligence to leak thousands of classified documents.
Rogers’ assumptions rest heavily on a recent classified report from the Defense Intelligence Agency that he says shows a majority of the information that Snowden took relate to U.S. military capabilities rather than Americans’ privacy, the issue Snowden has said he wanted to expose.
“I can guarantee you, he's in the loving arms of an [Russian Federal Security Service] agent right today and that's not good for the United States,” Rogers said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “It's not good for the information to be shared with nation states that actually hinders…[it] will cost us billions of dollars, by the way, Bob, to try to rectify the problems he's caused in the military operations.”
Rogers added that it was suspicious that Snowden ended up in Moscow so quickly after taking NSA files and fleeing the U.S. Snowden was purportedly transferring flights in the Russian airport when the U.S. revoked his passport, and he ultimately sought and was granted asylum there. Snowden had purportedly at the time been seeking to wind up in Ecuador or elsewhere in South America.
“There's some clear evidence there that something else was going on. This wasn't a random smash and grab, run down the road, end up in China, the bastion of Internet freedom, and then Russia, of course, the bastion of Internet freedom,” Rogers said. “And because of the nature of the information that was stolen, again, nothing to do with Americans' privacy, a lot to do with our operations overseas.”
Mike Morell, a former deputy CIA director, echoed Rogers’ concern.
“I don't have any particular evidence, but one of the things that I point to when I talk about this is that the disclosures that have been coming recently are very sophisticated in their content and sophisticated in their timing, almost too sophisticated for Mr. Snowden to be deciding on his own. And seems to me, he might be getting some help,” Morell said.
Tom Donilon, President Obama’s former National Security Advisor, wouldn’t share details he had learned while in the White House but did call for a “thorough investigation” of how Snowden managed to obtain, download and take NSA documents.
Donilon said he would be opposed to granting Snowden clemency in exchange for his return to the U.S., and called the leaker a “traitor.”
“Snowden’s done great damage to the United States across a range of dimensions. He had a lot of options here to raise issues that he might have had about these programs and I would be in no way for amnesty or clemency,” Donilon said.