POLITICS

Edward Snowden: 'I Was Trained As A Spy'

05/27/2014 07:26 pm ET | Updated May 28, 2014

In an interview with NBC News' Brian Williams, Edward Snowden stood by his technical expertise and training, brushing off critics who have dismissed him as a hacker.

In an excerpt of the interview released by NBC on Tuesday, Williams asked Snowden about his training.

"Were you trained as a spy?" Williams asked. "It seems to me spies probably look a lot more like Ed Snowden and a lot less like James Bond these days."

"Well, it's no secret that the U.S. tends to get more and better intelligence out of computers nowadays than they do out of people," he said. "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."

He continued, "But I am a technical specialist. 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. Now, the government might deny these things, they might frame it in certain ways and say, "Oh well, you know, he's -- he's a low level analyst."

Snowden went on to list his experience working for the NSA, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

"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," he said.

Watch a clip of Snowden's remarks above.

Snowden, a former government contractor, famously leaked documents detailing the NSA's surveillance programs last June. The NBC interview marks his first sit-down with a journalist from an American network. The interview was conducted in Russia, where Snowden has been granted temporary asylum.

The full interview with Snowden will air Wednesday.

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