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NEW YORK, May 28, /ITAR-TASS/. Former American National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden who had passed documents about the NSA's electronic surveillance programs to the media and who was granted asylum in Russia last year has rejected US authorities' assertions that he had been ostensibly an ordinary systems administrator.
"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 told the NBC television network in an interview, the excerpts from which were shown on Tuesday.
Last year, when Snowden began to pass data on a global spying program being conducted by the American intelligence to the media, US administration officials, in an attempt to hush up the scandal, began to play down his role, stating that he had not held any high-level position in US intelligence. They referred to Snowden as a "systems administrator" while US President Barack Obama told reporters in June last year: "No, I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker."
Meanwhile, according to Snowden himself, the assertions that he had been "a low-level systems administrator" were "somewhat misleading".
Snowden related that as a specialist in the field of computer technology he had carried out assignments in US government interests at high levels, including as a secret agent of the CIA and the NSA, and also as a lecturer in a counterintelligence academy for the Defense Intelligence Agency.
"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," the now 30-year-old Snowden pointed out.
The interview with him, recorded in Moscow last week, will be shown in full by the NBC on Thursday, May 29, at 06:00, Moscow time. The interview, as the NBC's statement emphasizes, is the first one given by the former NSA contractor to an American TV network.