TODAY   |  June 10, 2013

NSA leaker: I could have wiretapped anyone

Edward Snowden, a Booz Allen analyst who worked closely with the NSA, says he copied top secret documents and gave them to The Guardian after he became disillusioned over the NSA’s surveillance programs. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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following the new developments tied to the government secret gathering of millions of americans.

>> we know the man behind the leaks, a 29-year-old low level employee for a u.s. defense contractor but one with a lot of access. this morning after coming forward he is hold up in a hong kong hotel . we want to get to andrea mitch william the latest. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning. administration that has been criticized for it's policy against leakers is shaken to it's core as a man that revealed himself as the source as the leak of the nation's most tightly guarded secrets.

>> i work as an infrastructure analyst for nsa in hawaii.

>> he copied top secret documents, flew to hong kong and gave them to glenn greenwald after being disillusions at the cia.

>> i just sit in the office day-to-day and watches what's happening and goes this is something that's not our place to decide. the public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong.

>> reporter: before snowden revealed himself i talked to james clapper about the leaker.

>> this is someone who has chose on the violate a sacred trust for this country. the damage these revelations incur is huge.

>> can i infer there's a referral to track down the leak.

>> absolutely. nsa has filed a crimes report on this already.

>>> in a statement he said snowden worked for the company less than three months and they would work with the authorities on the investigation. the top secret documents he leaked including a presidential order to choose foreign targets for cyberattack have caused huge damage.

>> it is again, as in the case of this presidential directive a violation of a sacred trust.

>> why do you need every telephone number? why is it such a broad vacuum cleaner approach.

>> well, you have to start some place. we refined it and tried to make it ever more precise and disciplined.

>> analysts like snowden work on huge amounts of stored data. the program has adequate oversight from congress and the court. snowden disagrees.

>> have the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge or president if i had a personal e-mail.

>> snowden says he knows he faces certain prosecution if he cannot get asylum. they're reviewing the damage done by these disclosures. damage that also lead to an up roar as to how the leaks compromised america's allies.

>>> thank you.