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Edward Snowden: Don’t call me a low-level hacker

Edward Snowden: Don’t call me a low-level hacker

“I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word…”

In his first interview with a U.S. television news station since leaking information about NSA surveillance programs, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden sits down with NBC News’ Brian Williams for a one hour primetime special.  The interview, which was conducted last week, will air this Wednesday and NBC News has released some early clips in advance.

From NBC News:

Edward Snowden, in an exclusive interview with “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, is fighting back against critics who dismissed him as a low-level hacker — saying he was “trained as a spy” and offered technical expertise to high levels of government.

Snowden defended his expertise in portions of the interview that aired at 6:30 p.m. ET on Nightly News. The extended, wide-ranging interview with Williams, his first with a U.S. television network, airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

“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 said in the interview.

Snowden described himself as a technical expert who has worked for the United States at high levels, including as a lecturer in a counterintelligence academy for the Defense Intelligence Agency and undercover work for the CIA and National Security Agency.

“But I am a technical specialist. I am a technical expert,” he said. “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.”

Williams’ interview with Snowden comes after months of negotiation between NBC News and intermediaries for the former NSA contractor, according to the New York Times.  The interview was conducted in Russia, where Snowden has been living since being granted asylum there last year. That location alone apparently presented its own challenges for the interview.

From the NY Times:

As Mr. Williams described it, the back story of the interview contained its own quotient of cloak-and-dagger activity, including unannounced plane travel, lost luggage, hotel bookings under assumed names and two days sequestered in a room with a view of Red Square.

“We were worried about a number of things,” Mr. Williams said.

“There were competitive concerns,” he said. (Because Mr. Snowden represented the kind of huge interview “get” that has become rare in network television.) “And we didn’t know how much the Russians knew about the reasons for our travel.”

The presumption was: a lot. “A former administration official told us: ‘Don’t kid yourself, they know who you are, who you are coming to see, and everything you will do while you are there.’”

The extended interview airs Wednesday evening at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, and will also feature a segment with Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who first broke the NSA stories.

[Featured image: NBC News video]


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Assuming he’s not aggrandizing himself, it sounds as though he may have just made some admissions that have compounded his treason.

Put Snowden aside, what’s a real hoot is John F’n Kerry (THE Winter Soldier; Lying before Congress, Lying about his service in Viet Nam and Lying about the military) dissing Snowden.

Snowden at least appears to have more integrity and courage than John F’n Kerry has ever shown.

Let us now praise heinous men.

I don’t care about Snowden or his motivations. The question remains: Is the US Government mass collecting information on citizens and legal residents without probable cause, due process and specific warrants? I would say yes, based upon the response of the administration and the lies told in committee hearings. Any crimes committed by Snowden are miniscule compared to the widespread attack on the constitutional rights of the citizens of this country.

Don’t play into the administration’s game of making this all about Snowden. It’s all about THEM.

    Musson in reply to Sanddog. | May 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    George Orwell would be proud of Snowden (as am I).

    The Animal Farm pigs would be proud of Obama and Kerry!

Hard to get respect when you’re a nerdy dork and a traitor worthy of the noose.

When will Edward Snowden’s fifteen minutes of fame be up? For that matter Brian Williams’ fifteen minutes should have ended several centuries ago.

Snowden can collaborate with Obama on their bios: Grandiosity for Dummies.

Erudite Mavin | May 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Edward Snowden not only a tool of the Left and those who work to destroy our National Security along with his working associates who are Marxists.

Glenn Greenwald of the Leftist Guardian is the person
Snowden gave his stolen docs. to A bit of background
on Greenwald.

Glenn Greenwald Regularly Attends Marxist-Leninist Conferences

Posted By Cliff Kincaid On June 13, 2013 @ 1:09 pm In AIM Column | 63 Comments

Shedding new light on the controversy over the NSA terrorist surveillance program, the journalist who has served as the mouthpiece for former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden has addressed several Marxist-Leninist conferences over the last few years.

New Zealand writer and researcher Trevor Loudon reports [1] that Glenn Greenwald spoke to the Socialism 2011 conference and ended the evening of July 3, 2011, as part of a plenary entitled “Revolution and imperialism in the Middle East.” Prior to Glenn Greenwald’s talk to the group, on civil liberties under President Obama, people in attendance chanted [2] “Palestine will be free” and “Wars of occupation will never bring liberation.”

Greenwald is also a featured speaker [3] at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago this month.

“That Greenwald was willing to address a gathering of some of the most revolutionary, anti-American elements in the country speaks volumes about his personal views,” noted Loudon. “So Glenn Greenwald, the man who leaked America’s vital national security secrets on a massive scale, may not be the objective, impartial journalist he portrays himself to be.”

Indeed, the emerging evidence is that Greenwald, who writes for the British Guardian newspaper, works hand-in-glove with the International Marxist movement against the United States and its allies. This would help explain why China, Russia and other American adversaries and enemies stand to benefit from his disclosures.

As we have reported, Greenwald proudly accepted an award [4] named in honor of Soviet agent and left-wing journalist I.F. Stone. He has encouraged people to donate money to WikiLeaks, the organization started by Julian Assange that disclosed classified information about U.S. counter-terrorism programs. Assange worked for Moscow-funded Russia Today (RT) before being granted asylum in the London embassy of the Marxist government of Ecuador.

Greenwald’s source in the NSA controversy, a former NSA contractor named Edward Snowden, is hiding out in Chinese Hong Kong and has been offered asylum in Russia.

Greenwald has attended the socialism conferences since at least 2011, saying, “As someone who speaks at all sorts of political gatherings every year, I can say with certainty that no event assembles more passionate activism, genuine expertise, and provocative insights than the Socialism Conference. This will be my third straight year attending, and what keeps me coming back is how invigorating and inspiring it is to be in the midst of such diverse and impressive activists.”

The Socialist Worker website [5], associated with this year’s conference, features the headline, “A world to win,” paying homage to Marx and Engels, and The Communist Manifesto.

The conferences are officially sponsored by the Center for Economic Research and Social Change (publisher of International Socialist Review [6] and Haymarket Books), and co-sponsored by The International Socialist Organization (publisher of Socialist Worker).

The International Socialist Organization (ISO) is one of America’s main Trotskyist/ Marxist-Leninist parties. It says [7], “We stand in the Marxist tradition, founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and continued by V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky.”

It is not clear if Greenwald is an actual member of the group or simply gives them aid and comfort. But a video [8] of Greenwald’s 2011 remarks, posted by the International Socialist Organization, shows him speaking in front of a big conference banner proclaiming socialism. In the talk, he defends WikiLeaks and Julian Assange against charges they illegally released classified information from Bradley Manning, the Army analyst on trial for espionage and aiding the enemy. He also denounced the Tea Party for opposing Obamacare.

According to one account [9] from the 2011 conference, Egyptian activist and organizer Bessan Kassab “spoke about US imperialism in Egypt” and “concluded by saying that the Egyptian revolutionaries are committed to a real revolutionary future in Egypt, to fighting imperialism, Zionism and are in support of armed resistance.”

Greenwald will be speaking to the ISO’s annual conference this year [3], at the end of this month, in Chicago. Greenwald, along with Jeremy Scahill, will conduct [3] an “urgent discussion about the attack on civil liberties, U.S. imperialism, and how we can fight back.”

This year’s sessions [10] include:
•Trotsky on the united front
•Lenin on self-determination
•Frederick Engels, the family, and social reproduction
•The relevance of the Communist Manifesto today
•Harry Braverman’s Labor and Monopoly Capital
•Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution

Under the category of “Struggle in the Middle East,” we find the following sessions:
•U.S. imperialism in the Middle East after the Arab Spring
•The new movement against Israeli apartheid
•The struggle for Palestine
•Israel, Zionism, and imperialism
•What happened to the Egyptian Revolution?

Greenwald is a hero to the Marxists for challenging the NSA and “the surveillance state.” One account [11] says, “During a speech at the Socialism 2012 conference, Greenwald called the creeping surveillance state—with the expansive NSA hoarding complex at its center—an impediment to any efforts to meaningfully challenge the political status quo.”

It appears to be the case that Greenwald—and apparently his “source,” Edward Snowden—see the NSA, the spy agency created in 1948, as standing in the way of the worldwide victory of “anti-imperialist” forces.

On Wednesday, at a hearing on Capitol Hill, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, said the terrorist surveillance programs helped thwart dozens of terrorist attacks on the United States and its allies.

The evidence of Greenwald’s involvement with the international Marxist movement puts his attacks on the NSA’s terrorist surveillance programs in a new light.

But will those who jumped on the Snowden bandwagon reevaluate their support for him now that the involvement of Marxist groups and hostile forces in Snowden’s cause has become impossible to ignore?

    Sanddog in reply to Erudite Mavin. | May 28, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Who gives a shit? Is/was the NSA surveilling people in the USA without due process? Without probable cause?

    Focus on the big picture.

      Immolate in reply to Sanddog. | May 29, 2014 at 9:09 am

      You can’t seem to be able to condemn the NSA without making a hero out of Snowden. I can condemn them both easily enough. You and your anarchist buddies make me want to hurl. Had Snowden exposed the things he saw that were wrong and left it at that, he’d be worthy of admiration, but instead he stole every state secret he could and gave it to the enemy. He should be interrogated until there is no possible bit of information left unexploited in his head and then unceremoniously executed and tossed in an anonymous grave.

        Sanddog in reply to Immolate. | May 29, 2014 at 12:32 pm

        I certainly haven’t made a hero out of Snowden but I will say this: The actions of the US Government are far more heinous than the actions of Snowden. Please try and remember that our government exists to protect our rights, not violate them.

Juba Doobai! | May 28, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Bastard. Traitor.

It’s kinda hard to say that Snowden is wrong, multiple people at different agencies including congressional oversight have looked at this independently and found it was wrong. You even had the top people at the doj during the bush years threatening a mass resignation over it. They even engaged in a campaign of terror against people who whistleblowed by frabricatong evidence of crimes. Even more recently the doj was caught lying to the Supreme Court about their activities to get a dissimisal on standing.

If these people are really guilty why is it those that claim they are enforcing the law are in fact committing horrible crimes to incriminate the innocent and breaches of the trust? It’s apparent in these cases where whistleblowers had their lives destroyed and upturned were only doing what they could to protect people from what they scincerely believed was wrong.

Pro Tip. The U.S. government is corrupt to the core and lawless.

Henry Hawkins | May 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

A lot of us struggle to develop a sense of what Snowden is or is not – traitor, hero, pawn, dupe, etc. – while having little problem agreeing that the NSA and US gov as a whole is way out of bounds on privacy issues, at the least.

If it helps anyone, I look at Snowden as a symptom of the disease that is big gov overreach, that if it hadn’t been Snowden, somebody else would have blown the whistle. To me, Snowden is becoming an irrelevancy to the bigger picture and bigger problems.