Nightly News   |  January 19, 2014

Was Snowden Assisted by Russia?

Questions are raised as to whether Edward Snowden had help from the Russians in his leak of hundreds of thousands of secret documents.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> questions being raised about whether the russian government had a hand in helping former nsa contractor edward snowden leak thousands of documents. we get more on this from white house correspondent kristen welker.

>> reporter: three top lawmakers suggested nsa leaker edward snowden may have had help. on "meet the press," mike rogers pointed the finger at russia .

>> some of the things he did were beyond his technical capabilities.

>> do you think the russians helped ed snowden ?

>> i think there are questions to be answered there. i don't think it was a gee whiz luck event that he ended up in moscow.

>> do you agree with chairman rogers, that he may have had help from the russians ?

>> he may well have. we don't know at this stage.

>> reporter: house committee chairman mike mccall wouldn't say who he thinks helped snowden but says he also believes snowden didn't work alone.

>> i don't think he woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself. i think he was helped by others.

>> reporter: nbc news has reached out to government investigators who say so far there's no indication that snow snowden had any outside assistance. today, barten gelman, who interviewed snowden , said the theory doesn't add up.

>> he told me he acted alone. as far as i know, that is the view of the u.s. government . i'm trying to imagine how it would be plausible that the russians would help edward snowden and then let him fly to hong kong .

>> reporter: today, russian president vladimir putin didn't hesitate to embrace snowden , saying he's welcome to stay in russia , as long as he wants, and even travel to the olympic games .

>> translator: everybody is invited. mr. snowden is subject to the treatment of political asylum here in russia . he has the right to travel freely across the country. he has no special limitation. he can just buy a ticket and come here.

>> reporter: there was no specific evidence offered by any of the lawmakers that snowden cooperated with russia . this all comes amid tense relations between united states and russia , clashing over issues such as syria, gay rights and, of course, edward snowden .

>> kristen, thanks.