US tries to debunk Snowden claims with e-mail

2014-05-30 08:53
Edward Snowden during an exclusive interview with NBC news. (NBC news, AFP)

Edward Snowden during an exclusive interview with NBC news. (NBC news, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The US government released an email on Thursday written by Edward Snowden, in a bid to debunk his claim that he raised concerns about mass spying programmes before fleeing and engineering huge media leaks.

Snowden, now exiled in Russia, said in an interview aired by NBC on Wednesday that he had gone through official channels to question the legality of National Security Agency surveillance.

The former intelligence contractor mentioned a specific email he had written to the NSA General Counsel's Office detailing his concerns.

In response, the agency released what President Barack Obama's administration said was the only such communication found in the archives from Snowden on the issue, and said it did not prove his claims.

But Snowden subsequently told The Washington Post that the NSA's release was "incomplete", pointing to additional correspondence with the agency's Signals Intelligence Directorate.

Snowden said he had also raised concerns about the NSA's use of data from major US Internet companies.

‘Tailored and incomplete’

In the April 2013 email, Snowden asked NSA lawyers to clarify a question about the relative authority of executive orders released by the president and legal statutes.

The exchange does not in itself appear to register a complaint or concern about the mass phone data surveillance programmes that he later exposed in a series of leaks to media organisations.

"The email did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse but posed a legal question that the Office of General Counsel addressed," White House spokesperson Jay Carney said.

"There was not additional follow-up noted."

In December, the NSA claimed it had never received any such communication from Snowden.

"After extensive investigation, including interviews with his former NSA supervisors and co-workers, we have not found any evidence to support Mr Snowden's contention that he brought these matters to anyone's attention," NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines said at the time.

Responding to the latest email release, Snowden expressed confidence that the "truth" would soon become clear.

"If the White House is interested in the whole truth, rather than the NSA's clearly tailored and incomplete leak today for a political advantage, it will require the NSA to ask my former colleagues, management and the senior leadership team about whether I, at any time, raised concerns about the NSA's improper and at times unconstitutional surveillance activities," Snowden told the Post.

"It will not take long to receive an answer."

Plenty of avenues for complaints

The White House maintains there were plenty of avenues Snowden could have taken to raise concerns about the legality and scope of NSA programmes instead of leaking huge amounts of classified material to journalists.

"The appropriate authorities have searched for additional indications of outreach from Mr Snowden in those areas and to date have not found any engagements related to his claims," Carney said.

But Snowden maintained in the NBC interview that he did go through official channels.

"The NSA has records, they have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks, from me raising concerns about the NSA's interpretations of its legal authorities," he said.

"The response more or less, in bureaucratic language, was, 'You should stop asking questions.'"

Snowden also told NBC he was open to the possibility of clemency or amnesty and would like to return home one day.

But the former intelligence contractor maintained he had carried out a patriotic act by exposing huge surveillance dragnets he said infringed the US Constitution.

The Obama administration, however, says Snowden is welcome to return home but only to face trial for exposing sensitive top secret information it says aided US enemies.

Read more on:    nsa  |  edward snowden  |  barack obama  |  us  |  privacy  |  espionage
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Kuils River - 17:34 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit
  • Sunday Parow - 08:10 AM
    Road name: Mike Pienaar Boulevard
    WEEKENDS - ROAD CLOSED between Voortrekker Road and Tienie Meyer Drive due to roadworks (until end July)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R4300.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong emphasis on relationships. Obsession, emotional disputes, retaliation or competitive actions are highlighted....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.