Russia's state-backed broadcaster said NBC "neglected" to air "critical statements" Edward Snowden made about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks during an exclusive interview.
Russia Today said on Sunday that an analysis of the full interview, which US broadcaster NBC condensed, showed Snowden questioning the United States' inability to stop the attacks, despite having had the intelligence information to do so.
The accusation was picked up by Xinhua yesterday.
"What they [the September 11 commission] found, in the postmortem, when they looked at all of the classified intelligence from all of the different intelligence agencies, they found that we had all of the information we needed as an intelligence community, as a classified sector, as the national defence of the United States to detect this plot," Snowden said, responding to a question from NBC anchor Brian Williams about al-Qaeda.
"The CIA knew who these guys were," Snowden said.
"The problem was not that we weren't collecting information, it wasn't that we didn't have enough dots, it wasn't that we didn't have a haystack, it was that we did not understand the haystack that we have."
In a live webcast after the interview, Williams said his three-and-a-half-hour talk with Snowden was cut to fit into a one-hour slot, and played three clips that were deleted, featuring analysis from NBC journalists and former government officials.
In the clips, Snowden discussed the government's interpretation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, and the occurrence of the September 11 attacks and Boston Marathon bombings despite extensive spying programmes.
"If we're missing things like the Boston Marathon bombings where all of these mass-surveillance systems, every domestic dragnet in the world, didn't reveal guys that the Russian intelligence service told us about by name, is that really the best way to protect our country, or are we trying to throw money at a magic solution that's actually not just costing us our safety, but our rights and our way of life?" Snowden asked.
Snowden has accused major US news outlets of failing "to challenge the excesses of government" after the September 11 terrorist attacks, over fear of being labelled "unpatriotic".