NSA Directors Split Over Russian Influence Over Snowden

The current and former directors of the U.S. National Security Agency are at odds over whether onetime government contractor Edward Snowden may be collaborating with the Russian government.

“I think he’s working for them,” General Keith Alexander, who stepped down as NSA director in March, said in an interview today on Bloomberg Television with Street Smart anchor Trish Regan. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say a double agent, but he’s working for someone.”

Alexander, a retired four-star Army general, offered no evidence to support the charge that Snowden, who revealed secret U.S. data-collection programs last year, is in league with Russia. The former U.S. intelligence contractor has denied any links to Russian intelligence.

Alexander’s statements came just a few hours after Admiral Michael Rogers, the current NSA director and head of U.S. cyber command, said he doesn’t think it’s likely that Snowden worked with another government.

“Could he have? Possibly,” Rogers said at a Bloomberg Government cybersecurity conference in Washington. “Do I believe that that’s the case? Probably not.”

The appearance of a split between the two NSA directors shows how elusive information about Snowden and his activities has been for the top intelligence officials in the U.S. The former contractor, who fled the U.S. and was granted temporary asylum in Russia, said in an interview with NBC last week that he isn’t working for the Kremlin.

“I have no relationship with the Russian government,” Snowden said in the interview. “I’ve never met the Russian president. I’m not a spy, which is the real question.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Allen in Washington at jallen149@bloomberg.net; Phil Mattingly in Washington at pmattingly@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net Joe Sobczyk, Mark McQuillan

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