It’s been a little more than a month since U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chair of the House Intelligence Committee, stated on “Meet the Press” his unproven belief that Edward Snowden was working with the Russian intelligence agency when he downloaded, then leaked huge quantities of classified data exposing the previously unknown extent of National Security Agency tracking of millions of phone calls made by Americans.
Snowden denied it the same day (that is, he denied that he had been working with the Russians). I wrote at the time that Rogers needs to either back it up or retract it and journalists should keep asking him about it until he does one or the other. (This link will also get you the exact quote from Rogers.)
So far as I can find, Rogers has neither backed it up, nor retracted it. Rogers in 2013 was the most frequent of all guests on the Sunday shows and he continues to appear. He was interviewed about Russian security preparations for the Olympics on Feb. 9 by Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week,” but she didn’t ask him about his previous claim that it was “no coincidence” that Snowden ended up in the “loving arms” of the Russian FSB, the successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB.
There are probably more important issues about the Snowden affair (unless Rogers is proven right). But still, after the American experience with Sen. Joe McCarthy’s various undocumented claims in the 1950s, we should maintain a high put-up-or-shut-up standard in such matters.
(And yes, I’m aware that some of the people on some of McCarthy’s lists were indeed Communists.)