In his exclusive interview with Brian Williams, Edward Snowden pushed back against critics who called him nothing more than a "low-level hacker." Instead, Snowden said he was "trained as a spy" and given high levels of technical training by the United States government.
“I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas — pretending to work in a job that I’m not — and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” said Snowden.
Snowden also argued that his job was much technically complicated that the government would like you to believe. “I am a technical expert,” he said. “I don’t work with people. I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. And I’ve done that at all levels from — from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top.”
Last June, Obama called Snowden a "29-year-old hacker," but it seems his training and job description was much closer to a security agency spy than a traditional "system administrator," as the U.S. claimed. Snowden believes that government officials who refer to him as a hacker and administrator are "misleading," aiming to play down the access and training he actually had in his position.