Policy & Strategy

Report: Snowden took NSA job to gain access to classified programs

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has admitted the only reason he took a job at the National Security Agency was to gain access to the agency’s most sensitive programs. 

Snowden said he sought out the NSA contractor position with the goal of exposing the agency’s domestic intelligence operations. He made the comments in an interview with the South China Morning Post published Monday. 

{mosads}“My position with [contractor] Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told the Post on June 12. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”

Snowden had been an employee with Booz Allen Hamilton when he leaked details of the NSA domestic intelligence programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post. 

The former CIA analyst added that he accepted a significant pay cut to join Booz Allen and later the NSA as a contractor “in the course of pursuing specific work” to uncover details of the agency’s programs.  

NSA counterintelligence officials are in the midst of a damage assessment regarding Snowden’s leaks.

“He has jeopardized our national security,” House Intelligence Committee chief Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” He said terrorists had changed their behavior since Snowden’s leaks.

Snowden is currently seeking asylum in Ecuador after Chinese authorities allowed him to leave Hong Kong for Russia on Sunday. 

On Monday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told reporters Snowden was “healthy and safe” and awaiting an asylum ruling from Ecuador. 

The White House on Monday pressed Russian authorities to expel him or prevent him from leaving to a third country, but Moscow claims it has no legal standing to do so. 

The Obama administration has also asked Ecuador not to admit Snowden and pressured other nations from taking him, fearing he could use the classified information he has as leverage in negotiations with foreign regimes.

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