Rep. Michael McCaul believes that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistle-blower, was “cultivated” by a foreign power, the House Homeland Security Committee chairman told “This Week” today.
“I don’t think Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself,” McCaul, R-Texas, said on the ABC News Sunday morning program. “I think he was helped by others.
“To say definitively I can’t answer that, but I personally believe that he was cultivated by a foreign power to do what he did. Again, I can’t give a definitive statement on that, but I think given all the evidence I know Mike Rogers has access to, that I’ve seen, that I don’t think he was acting alone,” he added.
McCaul’s comments were in response to a statement issued by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., in an earlier interview, who said, “I believe there’s a reason he ended up in the hands and the loving arms of an FSB [Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation] agent in Moscow. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”
Amid security concerns at the Sochi Olympics that will begin in a few weeks, McCaul, speaking from Russia, declined to say whether he would encourage his constituents to attend the games.
“That’s a very good question. I have concerns. I know when I get back from this trip, I’ll have better opinions on that. But I would – I know the State Department has issued a travel warning. That’s something to take seriously,” he said. “I can tell you that as the Homeland Security chairman and the threats that I see, I am concerned.”
McCaul also said he was optimistic about President Obama’s proposed overhaul of the National Security Agency’s so-called metadata program.
“I think what he did was, for the first time explain these programs and defend them,” he said. “I think what gave most Americans heartburn was that this data was being stored under the NSA and warehoused under the government and this administration, who, you know, quite frankly, has some trust issues. So I think, you know, he’s moving in the right direction.”