Documents obtained by Vice News through the Freedom of Information Act show that Edward Snowden tried to express his concerns about government surveillance to the NSA before handing over files to journalists. These revelations contradict federal agencies’ assertion that Snowden never went through “proper channels” to address concerns over the constitutionality of certain NSA practices.
The NSA has stuck to their story that Snowden never alerted them to anything he found troubling about their practices. In May 2014, the NSA released an email from Snowden—the only one the agency claimed it could find—which contained a question about legal authority but “did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse.”
Emails released to Vice News reveal many details the NSA has never made the public aware of, including multiple interactions between Snowden and the NSA Oversight Board, and that Snowden registered complaints about two NSA training programs.
Snowden has maintained that he tried to raise concerns about government spying with official channels before leaking the information.
Snowden testified to the Eureopean Parliament in 2014:
Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.