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Congress claims Snowden has been in contact with Russian intelligence

But they don't specify the nature of that contact.
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Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who released a trove of confidential documents detailing the massive scope of US surveillance programs, has been accused by Congress of giving information to Russian intelligence agencies. A new report from the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) claims that Snowden "has had, and continues to have, contact with Russian intelligence services" since seeking asylum in Russia in 2013. The 33-page report, which was just declassified today, contains a section called "foreign influence" in which the deputy chairman of the Russian parliament's defense and security committee claims that "Snowden did share intelligence" with the Russian government.

That section of the document (along with many others) is heavily redacted, so it's hard to know the substance of these claims. It's logical that a high-profile asylum seeker would be in touch with Russian officials, but the nature of that relationship is unclear. And given the recent claims from the US government intelligence that Russia was being the DNC hacks and possibly influenced the outcome of this year's presidential election, Snowden seems like a natural target.

Naturally, Snowden has denied much of the content of today's report. "Unsurprising that HPSCI's report is rifled with obvious falsehoods," he said on Twitter. "After three years of investigation and millions of dollars, they can present no evidence of harmful intent, foreign influence, or harm." Specifically regarding his potential collaboration with Russian intelligence, he said that "an indicator of HPSCI's slant is the knowing omission of my strident, well-documented criticisms of Russian policy. Despite this, they claim without evidence I'm in cahoots with Russian intel."

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