NBC News just published some telling quotes from its much anticipated interview with Edward Snowden. Among other self-aggrandizing things, Snowden said he "was trained as a spy"and is "a technical expert." Snowden added, "I don't work with people." Update: video below.
Based on what we know about the NSA whistleblower, these are not false statements. However, he certainly doesn't waste the opportunity to talk himself up. While administration officials often referred to Snowden as a "low-level systems administrator," Snowden himself says this is "misleading" and that he's "developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world."
This isn't the first time Snowden has touted himself in a public forum. Just before Christmas of last year, the former government contractor did a victory lap of sorts in an interview with The Washington Post. "For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," he said. "I already won." It's a victory, though, that has left him in exile.
And so the great debate continues: Did the intelligence community train him as a spy only to have him turn around and spy on the intelligence community? Did his massive leak bolster the cause of greater transparency in the government, or did he make folks like the NSA retreat into even greater secrecy? Is he a hero, a patriot? (President Obama certainly doesn't think so.)
So many questions. Hopefully, Brian Williams' full interview with Snowden—which airs on Wednesday night at 10pm—will provide some answers.
Update: NBC posted two video teasers from the full interview.