Second off, this story (and the multitude of Greenwald/Snowden cult of personality reposters) is missing the most important thing in the NSA's response, the last sentence:
“For your information, there are no emails indicating that Mr. Snowden contacted agency officials to raise concerns about NSA programs.”
You'd have a great point if there were any reason we could trust the NSA. They could be lying outright, or they could be doing it the DC way, which is telling the truth in a misleading way, by overlooking the fact that he approached them in person about it instead of in written form, which I certainly would have, as I'd be nervous as shit about writing an email like that.
He's no patriot, he's just a cowardly little shit.
He gave up his girlfriend and cushy job, he exposed clear evidence of violation of international treaties and the US Constitution by the world's dominant superpower, and then he endured being stuck in the Moscow Airport (there isn't enough Prozac in the world to make this OK) and is now stuck in Russia, which I assure you, is a severe downgrade from Hawaii. There's nothing cowardly about all that.
Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982