POLITICS
05/29/2014 08:05 pm ET Updated May 29, 2014

Susan Rice: Edward Snowden 'Was Not Trained As A Spy'

National Security Advisor Susan Rice is pushing back on Edward Snowden's recent assertions about his training and expertise level, denying that the former government contractor was trained as a spy.

Snowden, who has lived under temporary asylum in Moscow, Russia since leaking documents on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs to the press, told NBC's Brian Williams that he had played a greater role in U.S. undercover operations than government officials had acknowledged.

"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.

On Thursday, Rice sat down with Charlie Rose, who asked her about Snowden's claims.

"Was he trained as a spy?" Rose asked. "Has his information damaged any person that we can identify?"

"He was not trained as a spy," Rice said. "We have no idea where that assertion comes from. And has Edward Snowden done damage? He's done immense damage to the national security of the United States in ways that I wish I could describe in public but I cannot. But indeed the revelations, the illegal unauthorized revelations of Snowden have given our enemies, particularly terrorists, including al-Qaeda, insights into how we gain information and intelligence on them that have enabled them to change the way they operate and be much more difficult to track. That's just one example."

Rice made similar remarks during a Wednesday appearance on CNN.

"Edward Snowden was a contractor working for the NSA and other elements of the intelligence community," she said when asked to elaborate on his role with the government. "Obviously he's accused of sharing and disclosing, illegally, some of the most sensitive information of the United States government, allegedly.”

Secretary of State John Kerry also weighed in on the Snowden interview, telling NBC that the former systems analyst should "man up and come back to the United States."

"I think he's confused," Kerry said. "I think it's very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country."

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