03:35 GMT22 June 2021
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    Whistleblower Edward Snowden raised concerns about mass surveillance to his superiors at the NSA before publicly releasing thousands of classified documents, Vice News revealed.

    But he did not get a response.

    After leaking the documents, the agency repeatedly tried to find evidence, or lack thereof, of Snowden's claims. However, each time there were reasons to return a negative — and false — response to reporters from various outlets.

    The methods the NSA used to cover up Snowden's accusations varied, the story says. On one occasion, high-ranking NSA officials did not inform the Media Leaks Task Force (an internal NSA group tasked with Snowden's case investigation) about interactions Snowden had with agency employees. The official later explicitly apologized for not providing actual information to the task force.

    In another case, the agency claimed that Snowden never raised concerns about NSA programs. If taken literally, this is true, as Snowden did not mention any specific NSA programs in his inquiries.

    Vice obtained the documents for the story through a Freedom of Information Act inquiry, filed in 2014. 800 pages of paperwork have been released as PDFs on the Vice News website.

    There were legal ways to report wrongdoings to the NSA's internal "watchdogs," without any form of embarrassing public disclosure, but Snowden was probably been unaware of them for some reason, Vice reported.

    Despite that, former Attorney General Eric Holder and Senator Ron Wyden, one of the Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed that Snowden's leaks, while illegal, turned out to be the only way to change things for the better. Snowden's superiors were well aware of violations but did not take any "corrective action" until the information was released to the public.


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    FOIA request, mass surveillance, National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, US
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