Just Released: NBC released portions of Edward Snowden’s big interview with Brian Williams, and the focus seems to be on Snowden’s claim that he was actually a trained spy, not a low-level hacker.
“I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas, pretending to work in a job that I’m not, and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” Snowden told Williams in the interview, set to air tomorrow evening.
In the video, Snowden lists his credentials, that include a stint with the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA, to establish that he was more than “a low-level systems administrator.”
Snowden later clarifies, “I am a technical expert. I don’t work with people. I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States.”
“So when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading,” he said.
The NBC News pointed out that once Edward Snowden started to leak sensitive information about the methods and scale of NSA global surveillance, the Obama administration tended to speak about him as small fry, a thievish hacker that happened to be a system administrator at the NSA quite by chance.
“No, I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” President Barack Obama said, shrugging Snowden off last June.
Edward Snowden specifically stressed that he did not “work with people,” being busy securing IT data for the US intelligence.
“I am a technical specialist. I am a technical expert,” Snowden told NBC. “I don’t work with people. I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. And I’ve done that at all levels, from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top,” he said.
Snowden specified that he was not only involved in undercover work for the CIA and the NSA, but actually taught others the specific skills he knew.
“What they are trying to do is that they are trying to use one position to distract from the totality of my experience, which is: I’ve worked for the Central Intelligence Agency – undercover, overseas, I’ve worked for the National Security Agency – undercover, overseas, and I’ve worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency as a lecturer at the joint counter-intelligence training,” Snowden revealed.
The agency confirmed to NBC that Snowden delivered at least three lectures at DIA conferences. Two unspecified sources also confirmed to NBC that Snowden really used to be a CIA IT and communications specialist working overseas.
“I developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world,” Snowden claimed.
The CIA refused to give an official comment.