The NSA Is Firing Back At Edward Snowden Over One Of His Key Claims

The NSA tried to poke a huge hole in one of the claims self-described whistleblower Edward Snowden made in a lengthy interview this week by releasing one of his old emails from his time at the intelligence agency.

On Thursday, the Office of the Director Of National Intelligence posted on its website what it described as Snowden’s only correspondence with NSA’s Office of General Counsel.

The email was sent on April 5, 2013, which was at least three months after he first contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and four months after he contacted journalist Glenn Greenwald. Rick Ledgett, the NSA’s deputy director who is leading the internal investigation of Snowden’s leaks, told Vanity Fair the he first illegally downloaded documents in the summer of 2012.

In his interview, with NBC’s Brian Williams, Snowden said he sent multiple emails to the NSA’s Office of General Counsel raising concerns about the agency’s practices.

“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,” Snowden said.

In addition to claiming Snowden actually sent only one email, the NSA suggested it did not actually reference any “concerns” about the agency’s surveillance programs.

“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,” an NSA spokeswoman said in an email.

“The email 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.”

During NBC’s one-hour airing of the interview on Wednesday, Williams said NBC had confirmed Snowden sent at least one email to the NSA’s Office of General Counsel.

The email is below:

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