Snowden Claims ‘Deceptive’ NSA Still Has Proof He Tried To Raise Surveillance Concerns
By Tess Owen for VICE News
On June 4, VICE News published more than 800 pages of declassified NSA documents that shed new light on
efforts by Edward Snowden to raise concerns about the agency’s surveillance programs while he still worked at the agency. Since then, Snowden has alleged there’s even more evidence that not yet been made public.
The former NSA contractor has long maintained that his 2013 leak of a trove of highly classified documents was a last resort after his efforts to sound the alarm about the agency’s secret spy programs went largely ignored.
The NSA, meanwhile, has rejected Snowden’s narrative, insisting that the closest he got to raising concerns was sending a single email asking a question about the interpretation of legal authorities.
The documents published over the weekend were released in response to a long-running Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by VICE News. Heavily redacted, they include an assortment of NSA emails from officials at the NSA, Department of Justice, and the White House, along with talking points about how to respond to the media in the wake of the leaks and subsequent public comments by Snowden.
The documents show that the NSA’s narrative about Snowden’s one email left out nuance and details about the nature of the question he raised, and didn’t disclose all of the relevant contacts he had with people at the NSA. Snowden also had an in-person conversation with an Oversight and Compliance officer around the time he sent the email, though that meeting wasn’t documented at the time. The NSA had never publicly revealed that the interaction took place, nor had the agency disclosed that Snowden’s former coworkers described “discussing the Constitution” with Snowden.
Snowden declined to comment to VICE News for our story. His attorney, Ben Wizner of the ACLU, said Snowden was “ambivalent” about discussing matters contained in the NSA documents because he believes the agency is “still playing games with selective releases.”
Snowden has since responded to our story in a series of tweets, which include claims that the NSA is still withholding pre-2013 email discussions, testimony from his colleagues, and chat logs or transcripts from communication platforms like Jabber, IRC, and Lync. The absence of these files, Snowden contends, is “intentionally deceptive.” (VICE News has since submitted FOIA requests for these records.)
“Interesting that this still shows an incomplete history of the concerns I expressed,” Snowden wrote. “Simple incompetence, or did NSA destroy records?”
Wow: New documents prove I raised Constitutional concerns within the
June 7, 2016 at 07:35PM
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