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Snowden Says Allegations He Received Russian Help Are 'Absurd'

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden says that when he leaked classified documents about some of the United States' most sensitive surveillance programs, he did so alone and without any help.

In an interview with The New Yorker, Snowden called whispers that he received help from Russia's security service "absurd."

He told the magazine that he "clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government." He continued, "It won't stick. ... Because it's clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are."

As we reported over the weekend, Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, strongly implied that Snowden had help from the Russians not only to travel to that country, where Snowden received temporary asylum, but to also steal the information to begin with.

"There's a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow," Rogers said. "I don't think that's a coincidence."

Rogers offered no evidence for his statements.

Snowden said the allegations made no sense.

Had he been spying for Russia, Snowden said, he never would have made a stop in Hong Kong and he certainly wouldn't have spent 40 days at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow.

"Spies get treated better than that," he told the magazine.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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