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NSA Employee Implicated in Snowden Probe Resigned

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: americans, congress, dishonesty, Govtfearmongering, Leaks, NSA Surveillance, resignation )

- 1862 days ago -
A National Security Agency employee has resigned from his job after admitting to FBI investigators that he allowed Edward Snowden, then an NSA contractor, to use his personal computer credentials to gain access to classified information, according[....]


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Kit B (276)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 9:28 am
Photo Credit: Uncredited/AP

A National Security Agency employee has resigned from his job after admitting to FBI investigators that he allowed Edward Snowden, then an NSA contractor, to use his personal computer credentials to gain access to classified information, according to an agency memo.

The unidentified employee was not aware that Snowden intended to obtain classified material for the purposes of disclosure, said the memo, which was first reported by NBC News.

The employee is one of three people who have been under investigation for their unwitting involvement in Snowden’s effort to remove the material in what may be the largest breach of classified information in history.

None was accused of collusion, said a senior U.S. official familiar with the investigation. “It’s a violation of procedures . . . but no ‘Hey, let’s conspire with him to steal information,’ ” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

The employee who resigned, a civilian, had his security clearance revoked in November and was notified of a proposal to fire him. He resigned Jan. 10, said the memo, which was addressed to the staff directors of the House Judiciary Committee.

The two other people, a U.S. military member and a contractor, had their access to NSA facilities and material revoked in August, the memo said. They all worked at a regional NSA facility in Hawaii, where Snowden was a contract employee for Dell and later Booz Allen Hamilton, officials said.

The resignation appears to be the first personnel action to result from the breach. Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, shared large amounts of intelligence with several journalists. Their stories began appearing in June and have stirred national and international debate about the proper scope of NSA surveillance.

A Reuters report last fall said that “a handful of agency employees” had given their log-in credentials to Snowden and were removed from their assignments. Snowden, the report said, “may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers” to give him their log-ins and passwords by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator.

In a Google chat last month, Snowden disputed the report and said, “I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers.”

According to the memo, written by Ethan Bauman, the NSA’s legislative affairs director, the civilian allowed Snowden to use his public key infrastructure (PKI) certificate to gain access to classified information on NSANet, the agency’s intranet, “access that he knew had been denied to Mr. Snowden.” PKI is a system of identity credentials designed to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive computer networks.

The memo stated: “Further, at Mr. Snowden’s request, the civilian entered his PKI password at Mr. Snowden’s computer terminal. Unbeknownst to the civilian, Mr. Snowden was able to capture the password, allowing him even greater access to classified information.”

Lawmakers expressed concern Thursday about the security lapses at the agency. “It is unacceptable that the NSA’s security protocols and breaches were so easily circumvented,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.). “This is the same NSA that asks us to trust that it will keep safe massive amounts of data on innocent Americans, and that we should have faith in its internal policies and procedures.”

He said that “for months, I have been asking who is being held accountable, and while the NSA director has testified that they have taken a number of steps as a result of the leaks, it is clear that more needs to be done to protect our national security and our privacy.”

Leahy has co-sponsored legislation that would, among other things, end the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records for counterterrorism purposes.

“If it is true that one or more NSA employees felt free to share a password with Snowden or anyone else, we have a serious security problem at the NSA and someone in charge needs to be held accountable,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Last summer, NSA Director Keith B. Alexander and his deputy at the time, John C. Inglis, offered to resign. Their offers were rejected by the administration. Inglis retired in January and Alexander is retiring in March.

By: Ellen Nakashima | staff writer | Washington Post |

Past Member (0)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 10:30 am
I would be an employer, I would give you a very good job at once !

lee e (114)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 10:48 am
OOOOOHHHHHH the pooor NSA --- they're dropping like flies! Of course they're all "victims" of that mean treacherous traitor Snowden - they just happened to be resigning because they miss him so much! I guess it's no fun being a spy without a whistleblower! Probably there are more people who wanted this information out, than meets the eye - and those certainly don't want to have to run from the death squads that the US are threatening them with - they'd rather leave in disgrace without making a "whistle blow"!

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 11:49 am

Angelika R (143)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 6:42 pm
ROFLMAO -thx ! Good thing March is almost here, but probably another idiot and lier will replace Alexander and they still need to boot Clapper, too!

Gabriele Jefferson (147)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 11:12 am
n, shared on fb & twitter

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 1:02 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Kit. Nothing like a game of dominoes! This needs to continue to happen....for whistleblowers to have each others' backs so We The People can learn about our secretive and corrupt gov't. I hope people continue to have an ethics-filled moral conscience, or We The People will have the final nail driven into our coffin and truly, completely become "We The Sheeple." Agree that Clapper should've left when he lied to Congress. How can these people be allowed to choose their own terms of leaving gov't....with their pensions and retirement intact---paid for with OUR tax dollars.

JL A (281)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 1:04 pm
The unraveling begins! Wonder whether we'll be allowed to see what was in the core of that ball of string.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 2:10 pm
Another great post--thanks.

Birgit W (160)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 2:44 pm
Hmmm, can we believe this article? If yes, all the people who have lost their jobs would need our help to speak up for them. Thanks.

Thomas M. (0)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 3:20 pm
What this shows is Snowden used staff, at their expense, to gain his objective of attacking the US government. My view - as a Democrat and which is in the minority, is that he took the job to attack the US government. It was not that he got a job and innocently discovered that there were bad things happening. He went in with the idea that he would expose what he could and he did. This is not being a hero, but a spy and a Russian supporter. Boy, are they using him to the max. I do not want him back in this country, unless he is in prison for life.

marie C (163)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 5:20 pm
Thanks for posting

Sherri G (128)
Monday February 17, 2014, 12:51 am
Thanks Kit Noted

Deborah W (6)
Tuesday February 18, 2014, 6:19 pm
Was to be let go from November, yet stayed on to the following January when he resigned .. no accountability, responsibility or penalties brought. What, then, is to stop others from doing the same ... for payback grudges, selling information for profit, etc. Sounds like a new money source fot the scumbags of the world.

Craig Pittman (52)
Saturday February 22, 2014, 4:38 am
Any agency or Government that condones the way the NSA operates does not deserve any kind of loyalty. They are not acting in the best interests of its citizens.
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