Edward Snowden says he’s more than just a hacker or systems administrator, as the Obama administration and media have portrayed him.
He worked undercover for the CIA and the National Security Agency.
“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,” the master secrets spiller tells NBC News in his first interview with a U.S. TV network.
Portions of the interview, conducted by Brian Williams in Moscow last week, appeared Tuesday night. An extended version will air Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.
Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia after revealing details of U.S. spying activities to journalists, portrayed himself as “a technical specialist … 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. And I’ve done that at all levels from — from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top,” Snowden said.
Responding to the interview, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that Snowden had betrayed his country and “should man up (and) come back to the United States.”
“If he has a complaint about what’s wrong with American surveillance, come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case,” Kerry told CBS This Morning.” But instead he’s just sitting there taking pot shots at his country, violating his oath that he took when he took on the job he took, and betraying, I think, the fundamental agreement that he entered into when he became an employee.”
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SOURCE: Michael Winter