The NSA and Edward Snowden are once again at odds. Snowden maintained in a recent interview with NBC’s Brian Williams that he expressed concern to the National Security Agency about the agency’s vast surveillance program. The NSA disagrees, saying Snowden never said anything about those concerns.
The former contractor said that he e-mailed the NSA’s legal office in April 2013 and wrote about his concerns with the agency’s far-reaching data collection and phone surveillance. He said he openly questioned the agency’s legal training programs.
“I have raised the complaints not just officially in writing through email to these offices and these individuals but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office,” said Snowden. “Many, many of these individuals were shocked by these programs,” added Snowden. He also said many advised him to keep quiet about his concerns, warning him, “If you say something about this, they’re going to destroy you.”
Snowden told journalists later in 2013 about the NSA’s bulk data collection and surveillance programs. His revelations set off a firestorm of controversy, with some calling him a brave whistleblower and others branding him a traitor.
Snowden released over 1 million classified documents and leaked many to the media outside the U.S. including the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper. The documents exposed highly classified eavesdropping programs, including the telephone calls of many Americans.
The NSA vehemently denies Snowden’s allegations. The “e-mail did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse, but posed a legal question that the Office of General Counsel addressed,” the NSA said in a statement.
“There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations. We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims,” the statement concluded.