Snowden calls Russian-spy story "absurd"

Snowden told me that having a “go bag” packed—something that Rogers described as highly suspicious—reflected his work deployed overseas for the C.I.A. He’d had a “go bag packed since 2007. It’s not an exotic practice for people who have lived undercover on government orders,” Snowden said.

“It’s not the smears that mystify me,” Snowden told me. “It’s that outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.” Snowden went on to poke fun at the range of allegations that have been made against him in the media without intelligence officials providing some kind of factual basis: “ ‘We don’t know if he had help from aliens.’ ‘You know, I have serious questions about whether he really exists.’ ”

Snowden went on, “It’s just amazing that these massive media institutions don’t have any sort of editorial position on this. I mean these are pretty serious allegations, you know?” He continued, “The media has a major role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their responsibility to hold power to account.”