Spying Level Higher Than Admitted, Leaker Says

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- NSA leaker Edward Snowden claims the spy agency gathers communications into and out of the United States for analysis, despite NSA claims that it targets only foreign traffic.

The fugitive systems analyst spoke in video released on Monday, filmed by The Guardian in June in Hong Kong before Snowden fled to avoid extradition to the United States.

Snowden is believed to be stranded in a Moscow airport, trying to reach any country that has granted him asylum.

Snowden said Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA chief, lied to Congress by saying the agency could not determine how many American communications are gathered -- something Snowden said NSA auditing tool Boundless Informant does.

NSA did not directly answer the question, referring to an Alexander speech in which he talked about how the NSA fit into the larger counterterror team of the administration.

Alexander has said such data gathered by NSA programs can be analyzed only when linked to foreign targets.

In the interview, Snowden details how he became progressively more disenchanted with the nobility of his work as a CIA employee, NSA agent and defense contractor as he climbed the ranks starting sometime after 2003.

"We were actually involved in misleading the public -- and misleading all publics," Snowden said. "America is a fundamentally good country. We have good people with good values who want to do the right thing," he added. "But the structures of power are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of all publics."

Meanwhile, revelations by Snowden will make it harder for the United States to confront China at talks this week over the alleged cyber theft of trade secrets worth hundreds of billions of dollars each year. …