• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 3:12pm
Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden says he worked as a spy for the US ‘at all levels’

Former US spy agency contractor claims he 'was trained as a spy' and worked undercover overseas for US government agencies

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2014, 9:30am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 May, 2014, 4:25pm

Fugitive US whistle-blower Edward Snowden "trained as a spy" and worked "undercover overseas" for intelligence agencies, he told NBC News.

In his first interview with US media, Snowden hit back at claims that he was merely a low-level contractor, saying he worked "at all levels - from the bottom on the ground, all the way to the top."

Snowden, who has been charged in the US with espionage, was granted asylum by Russia in August last year after shaking the American intelligence establishment to its core with a series of leaks on mass surveillance in the US and around the world.

In the interview, Snowden defended himself against claims minimising his intelligence experience before he stole and leaked classified documents revealing the NSA's programme of phone and internet surveillance.

"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," he said.

He said he had worked covertly as "a technical expert" for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, as well as a trainer for the Defence Intelligence Agency.

"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 claimed.

"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."

Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong and then Moscow last year, is believed to have taken 1.7 million computerised documents.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, asked about the interview, challenged Snowden to "man up and come back to the United States".

Kerry was asked about Snowden's claim that he never intended to be holed up in Russia but was forced to go there because Washington decided to "revoke my passport".

Kerry told NBC's Today show: "Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that's a pretty dumb answer, after all. If Mr Snowden wants to come back to the United States, we'll have him on a flight today."

Kerry said Snowden should "stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people".

Additional reporting byAssociated Press


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This article is now closed to comments

A Matsui
The US criminals in the NSA responsible for the massive spying, criminal hacking and invasion of privacy should be arrested and charged for their crimes.
No matter what the legal argument is, it will be foolish for China subject herself under US jurisdiction and try to play this out under US court. After all, who gave US the authority to judge which kind of world-wide cyber espionage is legal or not. Appearanly, the kind of spying that US did to others is legal but not the other way around. Do you really think China will be given a fair trial in US court? Even Snowden, a US citizen, don't think so.
Max Diethelm
Edward Snowden is a good human being, a good spy and an American hero. Should deserve the Nobel Peace Price.
China should grant asylum visa to Snowden so that he can move back to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is where he want to be originally after all.
I Gandhi
Edward Snowden should be welcomed with open arms and should be allowed to come to HK for political asylum. People fighting for a better world should be able to find sanctuary in HK.
How About
Ed is indeed a good man, but from this interview he appears to be cracking up, and awfully homesick. I hope the Russians can treat him well.
John Kerry please go F yourself you pretentious piece of garbage. You know Snowden won't get a fair trial in the US you sociopath.
Edward Snowden certainly won' get a fair trial in the US which is notorious for the giving of false evidence especially in case dealing with national security. If he goes back to the USA without security and immunity guarantees Snowden faces the certain prospect of very inhuman treatment.
Eddie I hear Elvis is working as a waitress at a diner about a mile from Graceland. Care to comment on that too?
Ant Lee
This guy is very mis-guided. I can understand he tries to be noble and exposes what he does not like about what the US government is doing. But he trades his safety by providing highly sensitive information to communist and dictatorship countries? These governments do not care less about the rights of their own citizens and this guy's action will only put the citizens of the free-world (not sure if HK is in this category) at even higher risks.



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