Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor turned whistleblower, has claimed that he was a trained spy and worked undercover in other countries for various US government agencies.
Snowden, who is still on the run from US authorities for leaking details of NSA surveillance operations, has rejected claims that he was merely a “low level analyst” at the spy agency, and instead claimed that he was a “technical expert”.
His views come in an advance excerpt of an interview with NBC which is to be aired in full later today.
In the excerpt, Snowden said that it was no secret that the US tends to get “more and better intelligence out of computers nowadays than they do out of people”.
He said he 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 that his role did not involve working with people or recruiting agents, but he “puts systems to work for the United States”, saying that he had done this at “all levels”.
Snowden suggested that the US government would dismiss these claims and state that he was a low-level systems administrator to “distract from the totality of [his] experience”.
“I’ve worked for the CIA undercover overseas, I’ve worked for the NSA undercover overseas, and the DIA as a lecturer at the Joint Counter Intelligence Training Academy where I developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world,” he claimed.
Snowden is believed to have taken nearly two million documents which show mass surveillance operations of the NSA, as well as its UK counterpart GCHQ.
He has been charged by the US for espionage and theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorised person.