In response to a Freedom of Information request, the NSA denies that its former NSA contractor-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden ever raised concerns in emails to colleagues to his colleagues over the agency’s surveillance work.
Interest in Edward Snowden’s past email communications with his former NSA colleagues arose following an interview Snowden gave to NBC News in May, when he said he first raised “concerns” about the NSA’s widespread surveillance programs, but was “more or less” told by his superiors to “stop asking questions.”
“I actually did go through channels, and that is documented,” Snowden told NBC News’s Brian Williams in Moscow, where the former NSA contractor has received asylum. “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.”
In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request put forward by VICE News following the Snowden interview, NSA officials said they were unable to track down any internal emails at the agency to prove that Snowden had discussed his concerns.
David Sherman, the NSA’s associate director for policy and records, described the methods the NSA used in its efforts to locate the email: “Following the unauthorized disclosures of NSA information in June 2013, NSA conducted a comprehensive investigation….and searched all of Mr. Snowden’s email available on NSA’s classified and unclassified systems,” Sherman wrote in the statement.