Ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he tried more than 10 times to go through official channels to alert someone about government spying programs, but nobody listened.
According to The Washington Post, Snowden claimed in European Parliament testimony that he reported policy or legal issues about the NSA to more than 10 officials, but as a contractor he had no legal avenue to pursue the matter.
"As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the U.S. government, I was not protected by U.S. whistle-blower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process," Snowden said in his testimony.
Snowden was at the CIA before becoming an NSA contractor. He was working for Booz Allen Hamilton at an NSA facility in Hawaii when he leaked information about the NSA spying programs to the press, The Washington Post reported.
Snowden described the reactions he received when telling his coworkers his concerns.
"The first were well-meaning but hushed warnings not to 'rock the boat,' for fear of the sort of retaliation that befell former NSA whistle-blowers like Wiebe, Binney, and Drake," he said, according to the Post, adding that the other responses were suggestions that he, "let the issue be someone else's problem."
Snowden testified, "there was a unanimous desire to avoid being associated with such a complaint in any form."
The NSA disputes his account, previously telling The Washington Post that, "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.”