In an interview set to air Wednesday night on NBC evening news, the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden tells Brian Williams that he was "trained as a spy" by the U.S. government and that descriptions of him as a "low-level analyst" are "somewhat misleading."
“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 tells Brian Williams in the interview that took place in Russia last week.
Snowden tells Williams that he is, in fact, "a technical specialist" and "technical expert,” but that he didn't "work with people" in his role as an undercover agent. "I don’t recruit agents," he said. "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.”
According to Snowden, when he worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency he “developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world.”
He contiuned: “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."
Watch the clip:
According to NBC News:
The Defense Intelligence Agency confirmed to NBC News that Snowden, as a contractor, had spoken at three of their conferences. Two intelligence sources tell NBC that Snowden worked for the CIA at an overseas station in IT and communications.
The CIA declined to comment on Snowden’s employment or his role at the agency.
The full interview airs tonight on NBC News at 10 PM EST.