National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is denying charges that he spied for Russia.

“This ‘Russian spy' push is absurd,” said Snowden in an interview with the New Yorker.

The former government contractor's disclosures of classified information detailing the nation's secret surveillance programs sparked a firestorm of controversy and led President Obama to announce new steps he said would better balance national security concerns and privacy rights.

Snowden fled to Russia where he received temporary asylum after leaking the information and is evading espionage and theft charges in the United States.

Civil libertarians have hailed him as a whistleblower, but many top lawmakers have called him a traitor and questioned his motives for revealing the nation’s secrets.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers on NBC’s “Meet the Press” said he believed that Snowden had received help from Russia’s intelligence services and was working with them.

Snowden though insisted that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.”

“It won’t stick,” he said of the charges. “Because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.”

Snowden noted that before he received asylum in Russia he was forced to spend 40 days in the transit area of Moscow’s international airport.

“Spies get treated better than that,” Snowden said.