Edward Snowden denies allegations U.S. lawmakers raised over the weekend that he has collaborated with the Russian government and has spied for them.
“This ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd,” Snowden said in an interview with The New Yorker magazine. The publication said the interview was conducted through “encrypted means” from Moscow.
On Sunday’s political talk shows, several lawmakers speculated Snowden might be working with Russian intelligence agencies. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) all proposed similar scenarios.
The magazine mentions a recent New York Times report, which quotes a senior FBI official saying Snowden has acted alone in leaking U.S. intelligence secrets.
Snowden says it’s irresponsible for news outlets to allow these lawmakers to make these statements of “sheer speculation.”
“It’s just amazing that these massive media institutions don’t have any sort of editorial position on this. I mean, these are pretty serious allegations, you know?” Snowden said. “The media has a major role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their responsibility to hold power to account.”
He continued to defend himself by pointing out he had been stuck in Moscow’s airport for more than a month after traveling there from Hong Kong. Russia ultimately granted the former NSA contractor temporary asylum in August.
Snowden, meanwhile, is bidding to become the student rector at Glasgow University in Scotland, BBC News reports. The person is an elected representative of the student body.
Former rectors include Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Mandela, and Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician who disclosed details of the country’s nuclear program.