Ken Dilanian and Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times’s Washington Bureau have an interesting article out that sheds more light on the possible embellishment of the truth by NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Guardians reporter Glenn Greenwald. According to their report, security analysts have dismissed Edward Snowden’s claim that he could “wiretap anyone,” up to and including the President, is “complete and utter falsehood.”
Analysts said that Snowden seems to have greatly exaggerated the amount of information available to him and people like him.
Any NSA analyst “at any time can target anyone, any selector, anywhere,” Snowden told the Guardian. “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email.”
Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the NSA and CIA, called the claim a “complete and utter” falsehood. “First of all it’s illegal,” he said. “There is enormous oversight. They have keystroke auditing. There are, from time to time, cases in which some analyst is [angry] at his ex-wife and looks at the wrong thing and he is caught and fired,” he said.
The LA Times reports analysts are under “stringent” internal supervision, which has led to complaints that the many levels of oversight and technical limits make doing their jobs difficult. For the record, we are aware that the government is flawed, as are many of the activities it engages in, but I don’t find leaking classified information heroic. In fact, it’s a criminal offense. I will also continue to maintain that given the short period of time Edward Snowden worked as a contractor at NSA, he went there with an ulterior motive, to gain information. The question is how did he do it and did he have help?
By the way, the Washington Post had this to say about Edward Snowden’s claims:
“When he said he had access to every CIA station around the world, he’s lying,” said a former senior agency official, who added that information is so closely compartmented that only a handful of top-ranking executives at the agency could access it.