While President Obama's criticism of Edward Snowden as a "29-year-old hacker" who ignored the appropriate avenues for whistling blowing has been his go-to line on the matter, Snowden insists he did try to make formal complaints to his higher-ups at the NSA. They just didn't care to hear about it. According to Snowden's testimony to the European Parliament, released today, the former NSA contractor claims to have raised concerns to "more than 10 distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them" before deciding to leak documents on his own.
Snowden also says that as a contractor, rather than a government worker, he still would not have been protected under Obama's Presidential Policy Directive 19, the current system by which employees can raise concerns about classified programs. "The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels," he concluded.
The leaker has said previously that he brought up his worries with co-workers and at least four superiors. "I asked these people, ‘'What do you think the public would do if this was on the front page?'" he said. "How is that not reporting it? How is that not raising it?"
The NSA, however, claims "we have not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden's contention that he brought these matters to anyone's attention."