NSA Releases Edward Snowden Email, Say It Refutes His Claim Of Using Official Channels

“The e-mail did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse…”


Edward Snowden responded to the email release Thursday evening, telling The Washington Post:

“Today’s release is incomplete, and does not include my correspondence with the Signals Intelligence Directorate’s Office of Compliance, which believed that a classified executive order could take precedence over an act of Congress, contradicting what was just published.”

2. During his interview with Brian Williams on Wednesday night, Edward Snowden stated he “actually did go through channels” to raise his concerns about the legalities of the NSA surveillance program.

AP Photo / NBC News

3. It was a lack of response to these official inquiries, he said in the interview, that influenced his decision to steal documents on the surveilance program and leak them to the media.

I actually did go through channels. And that is documented. 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.

4. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, seemingly in direct response to that claim, released on Thursday the following email exchange on their official Tumblr:

5. They also posted a note saying the emails “did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse” and that “there was not additional follow-up” from Snowden.

6. A transcript of the note:

NSA has now explained that they have found one email inquiry by Edward Snowden to the Office of General Counsel asking for an explanation of some material that was in a training course he had just completed. The e-mail did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse, but posed a legal question that the Office of General Counsel addressed.

There was not additional follow-up noted. The e-mail will be released later today. There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations. We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims.

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Gavon Laessig is a deputy news director and front page editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Gavon Laessig at
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