In a jaw-dropping revelation on NBC’s Meet the Press, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) has stated that he believes the fugitive Edward Snowden had assistance from Russian spies when he stole vast amounts of sensitive U.S. security data and fled to Russia.
Rogers told MTP host David Gregory: “Let me just say this: I believe there’s a reason he [Snowden] ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB [successor to the KGB] agent in Moscow. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.” Rogers added that some of the methods Snowden used in lifting National Security Agency secrets were “beyond his technical capabilities.”
Amazingly, at the same time Rogers was speaking to Gregory, over on ABC’s This Week a taped interview with Snowden’s benefactor Vladimir Putin himself was being played. The interview had taken place with George Stephanopoulos earlier in the week, in the host city for the 2014 Olympics next month, Sochi. It was almost as if Rogers was deliberately torpedoing ABC’s much-ballyhooed coup in landing Putin, since Stephanopoulos would have no chance to question Putin about the statement Rogers had made, leaving him with egg on his face.
Indeed, Stephanopoulos didn’t grill Putin on Snowden at all, merely lobbing a single lame-question softball at him about whether Snowden was invited to Sochi and allowing Putin to respond that Snowden is free to do whatever he likes in Russia.
On the panel discussion afterwards, Stephanopoulos spoke to Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who echoed Rogers and stated: “Hey, listen, I don’t think Snowden — Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself. I think he was helped by others. I personally believe that he was cultivated by a foreign power to do what he did.”
The irony is, of course, breathtaking. House Republicans are on the same page with the Obama administration as to Snowden being a virulent traitor, yet because of his craven “reset” policy towards Russia Obama won’t come forth with damning evidence against Snowden which shows he acted in concert with Russia. To do so, of course, would blow his entire foreign policy to smithereens. Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place.
With breathtaking chutzpah, Putin told a credulous Stephanopoulos: “I would very much like during the Olympics for the athletes, visitors, reporters and those who will follow the Olympics on TV through the media for people to see a new Russia.” This “new Russia” will play the national anthem of the USSR when its athletes win medals. It is run by a proud KGB spy who has jailed both of his main political rivals and has launched a furious new arms race while supplying aid to America’s worst enemies around the world, particularly in the Middle East.
Putin stated: “With respect to athletes, I’d recommend and advise them not to think about the political differences. Politics should not interfere with sports. And sports should impact politics.” Would Putin say a U.S. Olympiad should be depoliticized if it were learned that the U.S. government were giving aid to Doku Umarev, the separatist rebel who engages in terrorism? Of course not. Yet Putin demands the U.S. ignore waves of Russian aid flowing to Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.
In perhaps one of the greatest whoppers ever uttered by a national ruler on television, Putin had the gall to assert that “[s]o far, we are not seeing any major large-scale manifestations of corruption as part of the implementation of the Sochi project.” In fact, both in Russia and abroad experts agree that at least a third of the funds spent on the Sochi games have been stolen. Some put the figure at well over half. There’s no other explanation for why it would cost Russia as much to host these Winter Games as it will cost Brazil to stage both the Summer Olympics and the World Cup combined.