(NEW YORK) — A defiant Edward Snowden insists that he wasn’t some “low-level systems administrator” during his time at the National Security Agency, but a spy with technical expertise who also worked for the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency.
Snowden, who has lived in Russia for the past year after being granted temporary asylum there, made the assertion during an interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams that aired Tuesday evening.
The 30-year-old American expatriate said he fits the description of a spy in that he worked overseas under both an assumed name and job title.
Among other things, Snowden told Williams, “I am a technical specialist. I am 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.”
Since it was revealed last June that Snowden leaked classified intelligence about massive NSA surveillance programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post, he has consistently been described as a former contractor.
The Defense Intelligence Agency confirmed to NBC News that Snowden spoke at three of its conferences, while two sources told the network that Snowden worked overseas for the CIA in IT and communications, a report the spy agency refused to verify.
Snowden is wanted by the U.S. for espionage. He has balked at returning to the states, fearing he won’t get a fair trial there.
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