In his first full interview with US television, fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has insisted that he used to be a fully-fledged American spy.
Granted asylum in Russia, Snowden spoke to NBC TV at a hotel near the Kremlin and rejected critics’ claims that he only ever held a junior post.
“I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover,” he said.
“I have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency undercover, overseas. I have worked for the National Security Agency undercover, overseas… 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.”
Snowden, who leaked details of Washington’s massive
intelligence-gathering programmes, risks being arrested and extradited if he sets foot in any US-allied country.
President Barack Obama has set out a series of reforms to the country’s intelligence agencies in response to a public outcry triggered by Snowden’s revelations.