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Protesters supporting Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), hold a photo of Snowden during a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong June 13, 2013. China Protesters supporting Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), hold a photo of Snowden during a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong June 13, 2013. China's Foreign Ministry offered no details on Thursday on Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who revealed the U.S. government's top-secret monitoring of phone and Internet data and who is in hiding in Hong Kong. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX10LY6  

NSA Denies Snowden Ever Emailed Superiors Over Concerns

Giuseppe Macri
Tech Editor

The National Security Agency in response to a Freedom of Information Act request repeated its assertion this week that former contractor Edward Snowden never raised any legal or ethical concerns to agency superiors before leaking classified intelligence documents last year.

Journalist Jason Leopold’s FOIA inquiry for “any and all emails written by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in which Mr. Snowden contacted agency officials through email to raise concerns about NSA programs” was met with a fresh denial from the agency.

Since leaking a cache of intelligence documents from NSA detailing sensitive bulk surveillance programs to journalists last year, Snowden has repeatedly asserted he tried to raise ethical and legal concerns to his superiors on multiple occasions — including through email.

The signals intelligence agency initially denied any such emails existed, but released one seemingly benign example from Snowden last month in which the intelligence worker asked a vague question about the legal superiority of executive authority or laws in relation to NSA permissions referenced in an agency training manual.

“After extensive investigation, including interviews with his former NSA supervisors and co-workers, we have not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden’s contention that he brought these matters to anyone’s attention,” the agency said in a December statement.

The FOIA response released Wednesday reported the same findings.

“Your request has been processed under the provisions of the FOIA,” the agency wrote in a statement published in TechCrunch. “A thorough search of our files was conducted, but there are no documents indicating that Mr. Snowden contacted agency officials to raise concerns about NSA programs.”

The agency re-released the ambiguous Snowden email, along with the FOIA request, despite the agency’s explanation that “it is not responsive to your request since it does not discuss NSA programs or raise concerns about NSA programs,” potentially raising the question of whether or not other such indirect emails questioning NSA legality from Snowden exist.

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