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Eli Lake

Was Edward Snowden a Spy? The Answer Remains Classified

A new report from Congress casts aspersions but hides the facts.
Hero or traitor?
Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Ever since the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong and handed hard drives filled with highly classified documents to the journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, there has been rampant speculation over whether he was really a foreign agent.

The official story is well known. Snowden over time grew frustrated with the U.S. government's excessive domestic surveillance. In an act of civic bravery, he leaked the evidence to reporters from the Guardian and the Washington Post. As he was trying to travel to South America in May 2013, the State Department pulled his passport. Snowden has been stuck in Russia ever since.