Did Edward Snowden Receive Help From A Foreign Government or is The U.S. Government Alleging He Did To Discredit Him?

By Darren Smith, Weekend Blogger

Congressional SealRecently, several high ranking members of the U.S. Congress have made public statements voicing proffering NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden might have had assistance from a foreign power, namely Russia. The announcements have been contemporaneous with President Obama’s speech about the NSA and reforms he proposes. While it has not been proven decisively if Edward has or has not one has to wonder what the intentions of such announcements by Congress are and if these announcements are consistent with others who have been alleged to be acting at the behest of foreign powers and if this is more propaganda than standard counter-intelligence practices.

The Guardian reported that several members of Congress have been making public statements concerning the investigation into Edward Snowden. Among these include details such as the following statements:

Representative Mike Rodgers from Michigan stated in an interview with Meet The Press, that Edward was a “thief whom we believe had some help.” And, that there was an “ongoing” investigation. He further commented “I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.” The FSB is the Russian Intelligence Service. 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 but as someone who used to do investigations some of things we are finding we would call clues that certainly would indicate to me that he had some help and he stole things that had nothing to do with privacy,” Rodgers added.

Senate Intelligence Chair Senator Dianne Feinstein stated Edward joined the NSA “with the intent to take as much material down as he possibly could.” When asked if Edward was aided by the Russians, Senator Feinstein replied “He may well have. We don’t know at this stage. But I think to glorify this act is to set a new level of dishonor.”

Michael McCaul, chairman of the House committee on homeland security. Speaking from Moscow, the Texas Republican told ABC’s This Week: “I believe he [Snowden] was cultivated by a foreign power to do what he did.” McCaul stated he could not make a definitive statement as to the foreign power issued but continued: “Hey, listen, I don’t think … Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself. I think he was helped by others. Again, I can’t give a definitive statement on that … but I’ve been given all the evidence, I know Mike Rogers has access to, you know, that I’ve seen that I don’t think he was acting alone.” And finally: “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”

One has to wonder why if it was possible that Edward was spying for the Russians or another power why would members of Congressional intelligence committees provide such information when it was at the beginning of an investigation. In traditional investigations, whether for law enforcement or national security it would be reckless to reveal to the public the investigation was on. That obviously would alert those being investigated or those rendering assistance.

Regarding espionage cases as an example, the investigation of convicted CIA agent Aldrich Ames, the CIA had suspected a leak or mole in the agency since around 1986 when assets, (individuals), in the Soviet Union began to disappear from contact and were suspected to have been revealed by the KGB. They began to focus on Ames and in March of 1993 ramped up their investigation greatly, using substantial assets. Fearing he would leave for the Soviet Union, the FBI arrested Aldrich in February of 1994 along with his wife.

When former CIA agent Robert Hanssen, convicted of espionage for the Soviets and the Russians, was convincingly suspected of spying after the CIA recruited a Russian citizen to steal the Russians secret dossier on Robert to provide to the FBI and CIA, the CIA continued to watch him and his activities closing, for among other things increasing the evidence and trying to obtain the trail and contacts he made with the Russians.

For his part Edward consistently has denied he provided the Russians with information or that he worked with them to obtain sanctuary prior to his departure to Russia from Hong Kong.

But what is the intention of those in Congress who have commented about Edward? From their own words they claim they are uncertain if he actually was assisted by the Russians and all of this, from an evidentiary perspective, is mere speculation. Speculation as an investigative technique is only useful to provide initial direction and care must be used to not assume it is proof in order to have an objective investigation and not drawing conclusions that steers the investigation, even unconsciously, to the unfounded ends. Especially flawed is the notion that Edward lacked the expertise to have obtained the information. One could assume he had a certain amount of high ability having the position he was employed in. And it is illogical to assume a person in this capacity has known and defined limits to what he was capable of and that he could not have acquired additional skills on his own or from learning the system he was an analyst for and that he could have found weaknesses.

But it should also be considered the possibility this could be an incidence of discrediting a person simply by instigating an investigation of them even if the evidence is weak or unfounded. Many individuals have been damaged by false investigations where the notion of doing this is to seed doubts about the target’s good intentions to persuade public opinion against them. With regard to Edward and Congress it might be worthy of consideration.

The idea also that a foreign agent would assist Edward in leaving the country and eventually ending up in Russia is weak. Millions of individuals are able to leave the United States via commercial air travel simply having the ability to arrive at an airport, provide a ticket and ID and board an aircraft. Edward certainly had the impetus to get out when he did and especially after his arrival in Hong Kong find a way to get to safe harbor especially evidenced by what we had seen the U.S. government’s extreme efforts to locate him and to block his travels.

What do you think?

The Guardian

Darren Smith, Weekend Blogger

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

31 thoughts on “Did Edward Snowden Receive Help From A Foreign Government or is The U.S. Government Alleging He Did To Discredit Him?

  1. It is perhaps too easy for me to simply call these Congressional folks “schmucks”. Who bidding are they doing? Are they mere pawns of the Military Industrial Complex, the Koch Brothers, the CIA? Yeah, Snowden is in Russia? Where else could he get admitted? He had already stolen the cookies from the cookie jar. He did not need help from Russians when he was sitting on the cookie jar. It is too bad that Germany would not give him asylum. They regret it now that they learn how much we spied on Merkel and others.

    Separating the Russian involvement from the overall picture is important for those of us who want the overall picture. When I send an email to the ACLU and the NSA copies it down and stores it for future use then I am offended. The ACLU is my lawyer, They are my method of petitioning the government for redress of grievances. So is this blog.

    All of you who chime in on this blog are categorized in folders, computerized folders held by the NSA, FBI, CIA. You are all victims. Tell old lady Feinstein to retire and then elect someone who will uphold your Constitution. Time is running out America. Soon it will be a letter K second from the end of America.

  2. From the get-go, I’ve never believed Snowdon was a lone wolf. No one embarks on such a mission, about on the order of a solo trip to the South Pole, without an elaborate support system.

  3. Thirty, forty years ago Snowden might have some supporters in Congress like those folks on the Church Committee. There was a guy back then who no one recalls or learned about named Daniel Ellsberg who stole some Pentagon Papers. He was a lone wolf and he almost had to go to the South Pole at first. Thee elaborate support system is that which sustains the schmucks like Feinstein in Congress. Senile is as senile does.

  4. Snowden is a truth telling hero – therefore he must be taken down at all costs

    If anyone believes what those whack jobs in congress are saying, I have a couple of bridges to sell you as well as some ocean front property in Arizona for sale

  5. Does anyone believe the government, particularly when it comes to Snowden? Of course not. He embarrassed them and told the American people the truth. They have got to smear him.

  6. The inept and corrupt U.S. government simply cannot admit that a single contractor employee could figure out the sprawling, out-of-control “system” and find a means to alert the global population to its many abuses. It goes without saying, though, that members of the bought-and-paid for Executive, Congress, and the Courts cannot imagine anyone competent and idealistic enough to do something right and honorable in the first place. Defending the Constitution against its domestic enemies — namely, the corporate oligarchy — simply doesn’t compute for these amoral cretins.

    The U.S. government’s “Credibility Gap” of Vietnam days has returned with a vengeance, only this time it has grown into a yawning chasm.

  7. I would say that when the U.S. Government says something, then it is the Executive Branch, not the Legislative Branch and going downhill, one or more individual members of Congress, and from there House or Senate members saying such on their own, not as a Resolution. A Congressman or woman can be elected from such warped places as New York City so that saying that some schmuck was speaking for the U.S. Government is like saying that the truck driver for Pepsi speaks for Big Business or the Koch Brothers.

    All that being said, the U.S. Government, through its Executive Branch has chosen to file criminal charges against Snowden. THAT is a good reason for him to go somewhere else until America, brings the Executive Branch to its senses. Maybe the world, through its outrage will bring America to its senses. I wish Germany had given Snowden sanction and not Russia. Then the coocoo clocks in Congress could not call him a Communist or put him in the same category as the guy who stole the Atom Bomb secrets. Old senile Congress members like Feinstein need to retire. The criminal charges need to be dismissed. Clapper needs to be charges with lying to Congress and the American people. Don’t trust anyone who shaves their head. We have a Governor in FL who does that. If you schmucks are going bald then live with some side hair.

    We need some song writer to write a good song along the lines of Metadata, Metadata, Take Out The Trash.

  8. The “Snowden is a spy” meme is a sheer fantasy, spread by those in power to discredit a whistleblower and turn the story from the illegal activity of the NSA and focus it on Snowden. If he really was a spy for the Russians, why on earth would he first go to Hong Kong and then on the Russia after the revealing the NSA documents through selected media? A spy being handled by the Russians or any other foreign power would be under strict orders to keep his mouth shut, because one of the primary elements of espionage is that you don’t let the target know that you know what the target is doing. The fact that Snowden went to Hong Kong and made a very public announcement about the matter demolishes this absurd notion and reveals it as a desperate attempt by the powers that be to turn public opinion against Snowden.
    The lack of skills notion is utterly ridiculous. I work in IT and I know some very high level people that never completed high school and IT companies look for people who have capability and do not exclude those without a college degree. The fact that Snowden made off with the keys to the realm is, on its face, I think, pretty strong evidence that he had the capability to do exactly what he did with no help at all.
    Rogers and Feinstein are mere servants of power and this is not surprising that they are doing this; they read the polls.

  9. The government has lied way to often on this. Any Senator on the offensive for Snowden trying to make a name for themselves ala Joseph McCarthy.

    Stop the spying NOW.

  10. “What do you think?” – Darren

    This is the typical McCarthyism mixed with jingoism that is to be expected from those in congress who are reprobate.

  11. JH, Great quip. I’ve read and watched a lot on this specific topic of alleged help for Snowden. I am pretty well convinced he did not. I would not rule it out, but from what I’ve read and seen, it seems he was a solo man. And, he just seems like a solo person by nature.

  12. “We don’t know at this stage. But I think to glorify this act is to set a new level of dishonor.””

    And what would anyone whose freedom depends on no grand juries being sat to probe matters of war crimes say?

    And what would such a criminal know from “honor?”

  13. Diane Feinstein is working for aliens who want to enslave humans. “We don’t know at this stage.” Mike Rodgers is a thief who takes money from corporations and then does their bidding. There is a “ongoing” investigation. Michael McCaul is working with war contractors who recruited him through the office of Diane Feinstein, whose husband works closely with war contractors and other aliens. “Again, I can’t give a definitive statement on that.”

    Provide real evidence people. Clearly this is propaganda or evidence would be forthcoming that every person could examine. Not secret evidence, not speculation, actual evidence.

  14. 1) Snowden works for the Japanese Yakuza. This is obvious from the route that he was taking to them:
    Hawaii to Hong Kong to Moscow to Cuba to South America to a super-secret hut in Japan. Right?
    He’s only (stuck) in Moscow because the US managed to strongarm countries on the air route to Cuba to ground any overflying aircraft thought to have Snowden on board. The Bolivian President’s plane was forced down in Austria ih nops of finding Snowden on it.

    2) Snowden absolutely needed assistance as he is blind and has no hands.
    Manning – an army private sitting in a tent in Iraq – is not blind and has both hands. He was therefore able to use his standard clearance as an army private in his unit’s local intelligence section to access information. As well as giving him access to information that he needed to perform his task of monitoring militants in his immediate vicinity, this also gave him acess to a much wider scope – including diplomatic cable world-wide.
    The gov/spook “classify everything” information systems are a mess. It’s just gross incompetence.

    Snowden was a systems administrator. His job involved moving classified files around systems and managing them. If he needed additional access, he apparently asked people for their passwords. They gave him their passwords because, well, he was the plumber-tech-guy so normal security does not apply in that case right?

  15. Germany should have given Snowden asylum.

    It would have gone far to indicate maturation, doing right at any price.

    My respect for them has plateaued.

  16. Just because ‘they’ say-so does not mean I will believe it. IF they are merely musing about possibilities I will never believe them. ‘They’ look foolish, to me, even saying such non-substantiated drivel. ..Can they see they are steadily losing credibility?

  17. nick spinelli

    … I’ve read and watched a lot on this specific topic of alleged help for Snowden. I am pretty well convinced he did not. I would not rule it out, but from what I’ve read and seen, it seems he was a solo man. And, he just seems like a solo person by nature.
    We are all solo citizen journalists now, as is Snowden.

  18. I think the government is terrified of what they think Snowden took but Greenwald, et al. have not yet released.

    Also, having our government suggest without foundation that Russian spies helped Snowden doesn’t sound like good diplomacy.

  19. It sounds like a bunch of propaganda to discredit a whistleblower, but after the passage of the Patriot Act, I just assumed the government spied on everyone. No big surprises, IMHO.

  20. I have been over to Europe a few times this past twelve months and observe that the anti American opinion is quite strong because of this spying on Merkel and other leaders. The Europeans don’t like their own emails stolen but they are incensed at the spying on their governments. Merkel will probably invite Snowden in. The Dutch fear that the Americans will kill Snowden if he leaves Russia and the Dutch want their country to welcome him in. The French are not as incensed. The Germans are close in time to the life under the Stasi in East Germany before the Wall came down. First Hitler then the Stasi. 1933 to 1990 or so. The Germans liked Obama at first but think he is a chump.

  21. Debater Feinstein “We don’t know… but I think to glorify this act is to set a new level of dishonor.”

    I do know, to bear false witness is to set a new level of dishonor.

  22. Boy, this just sticks in their craw. They can’t imagine having that kind of courage to blow the whistle, so that automatically means Snowden must have been seduced by some Russian hottie or done it for money or something. They just can’t imagine someone having the courage and the backbone to do this all on their own for the right reasons.

  23. I suspect this is as much a tactic to encourage Russia to hand Snowden over to the U.S. as it is an attempt to indict Edward Snowden in the minds of Americans.

  24. Mr. Smith: Kudos on such a balanced presentation. I couldn’t have managed it.

    This is clearly reminiscent of many initiatives in the past where on a particular day – in this case 1/19/14 – all of the barking heads on tv and the newspapers begin howling the same orchestrated line.

    Another such case was 9/8/02, also a Sunday, when at least 5 different Bush Admin operatives went on the tv “news” shows and repeated in unison: “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” From that day forward until 3/19/03, the US media and all government officials continued the propaganda message of WMDs and Saddam’s behind the scenes work with Osama bin Laden. Anyone who questioned that line was accused of either being an idiot or a traitor.

    So now we can remember 1/19/14 as the day we began to get the message repeatedly rammed into our heads that ‘he couldn’t have done it by himself.’

    Last night on the CBS evening news, Scott Pelley interviewed Mike Morrell, former Deputy Director of the CIA. Morrell continues the propaganda line with the statement that “there were incidents that I really can’t get into” …blah blah blah – so just trust us. Right.

    Booz Allen, Snowden’s former employer, makes $1.3 Billion per year to illegally snoop on Americans. They have about $5 Billion of taxpayer funded contracts already in the pipeline and their management chain has a revolving door relationship vis a vis top management appointments to the national security establishment.

    They are clearly intent on making an example of Edward Snowden.

Comments are closed.