Government whistleblower Edward Snowden said he was "trained as a spy" by the US government, and that he worked with an assumed name and identity while serving both the CIA and the NSA in overseas positions.
In the first part of a larger interview filmed with NBC News, Snowden disputes the idea that he was a "low-level" outside contractor who managed to manipulate his way into possession of the massive cache of data which would become a massive leak of US government intelligence information.
"I was trained as a spy in the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas, pretending to work in a job that I am not and even being assigned a name that was not mine," Snowden told the network.
"But I am a technical specialist. I am a technical expert. I don't recruit people. I don't recruit agents. I put systems to work for the United States."
The remarks come in the first interview Snowden has given to the US media since his flight abroad and eventual settling in Russia. Thus far, aside from isolated TV and print media appearances, Snowden has for the most part chosen to funnel information through media sources, particularly journalist Glenn Greenwald.
In opening up to the news network, Snowden said that he worked in a far greater and more sensitive capacity for the government than officials let on. He said that over his time with Uncle Sam, he worked for, among others, the CIA, NSA, and Defense Intelligence Agency.
"The government might deny these things, they might frame it in certain ways and say 'Oh, he's a low level analyst'," Snowden said.
"What they are trying to do is use one position I've had in a career here or there to distract from the totality of my experience."
The network plans to air the full interview tomorrow with Snowden tomorrow night.