Nightly News | January 19, 2014
>>> 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.