Basically, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R) – with Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D) sitting right there, and not protesting – intimated that Ed Snowden may have been assisted by foreign intelligence agencies when he stole classified information. This will probably be a big topic of conversation this morning:
The Michigan Republican added that there are still “certain questions that we have to get answered” about who helped Snowden remove data from the NSA and later make it public in newspapers in the United States and Britain.
“He was stealing information that had to do with how we operate overseas to collect information to keep Americans safe…. And some of the things he did were beyond his technical capabilities” — a fact which Rogers said “raises more questions. How he arranged travel before he left. How he was ready to go, he had a go bag, if you will.”
Rogers added that he believes “there’s a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB (Russian security service) agent in Moscow. I don’t think that’s a coincidence….I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.”
…partially because Rogers did not quite accuse the Russians of organizing the oh-so-serendipitous data dump that fell in their laps, and partially because the accusation is quite serious. Not quite declare-war serious, but if it turns out that a certain segment of the pundit class has been engaged in maskirovka for a Russian intelligence op then said pundits should probably go on professional sabbatical for a while, and by ‘a while’ I mean ‘a decade.’
But note: that’s an ‘if.’ It’s kind of a solid if, given that both the House and Senate Intelligence chairs* are giving off signals that they’re taking the possibility seriously, but it’s still an if. Which is why I am calling the 72 hour rule; because if it’s going to get debunked then it’ll get debunked soon.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: If Ed Snowden turns out to have used the FSB (or any other foreign intelligence agency) in any capacity to get classified documents and/or get away, then Barack Obama could hang Ed Snowden from a gibbet** on Capitol Hill and my only response would be to hold the President’s coat.
*So is the House Homeland Security chairman.
**After a fair trial, of course.