WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- A U.S. congressman said Edward Snowden was no whistle-blower and planned to flee to China well before he unveiled details of critical surveillance programs.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday Snowden did not fit the definition of a whistle-blower because he never tried to bring his concerns about the National Security Agency's activities to the appropriate authorities but rather made plans from the start to leave the country and travel to China.
"He grabbed up information and he made preparations to go to China," Rogers said on CNN's "State of the Union. "Then (he) decided he was going to disclose very sensitive national security information, (which) benefits the Chinese and other adversaries when it comes to intelligence relationships."
Rogers discounted Snowden's earlier claims he hoped to gain political asylum. He told CNN Snowden had spent several weeks arranging his trip to Hong Kong and had likely been spirited off to China proper.
Rogers also raised new suspicions Snowden had an accomplice inside the NSA who gave him information he did not have access to and which went beyond the issue of privacy protection for U.S. citizens.
"I'm an old FBI guy and I think you have to ask a lot of hard questions," said Rogers, who was an agent prior to entering politics. "Why did he make preparations to go to China for months? Why did he grab information that was well beyond the bounds of what he said he was disclosing for the purposes of privacy protection?"