NSA Officials: Edward Snowden Got Documents from Agency's Intranet
NSA Officials: Edward Snowden Got Documents from Agency’s Intranet

It is a sad commentary that more than three months later, officials at the National Security Agency are still trying to figure out what documents fugitive leaker Edward Snowden got his hands on and the extent. NSA’s chief technology officer Lonny Anderson told NPR he got some of the documents stored in a file-sharing location on the agency’s intranet site.

“We have an extremely good idea of exactly what data he got access to and how exactly he got access to it,” says the NSA’s chief technology officer, Lonny Anderson.


“Unfortunately for us,” one official said, “if you had a Top Secret SCI [Sensitive Compartmented Information] clearance, you got access to that.”

The importance of such information-sharing procedures was one of the lessons of the Sept. 11 attacks. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies were unable to “connect the dots” prior to the attacks, because they were not always aware of what other agencies knew.

As a systems administrator, Snowden actually had the responsibility to go to the NSA intranet site and move especially sensitive documents to a more secure location. The assignment was the perfect cover for someone who wanted to leak documents.

“It’s kind of brilliant, if you’re him,” an official said. “His job was to do what he did. He wasn’t a ghost. He wasn’t that clever. He did his job. He was observed [moving documents], but it was his job.”

Snowden’s supervisors, however, did not realize that he was making digital copies of the secret documents. The officials interviewed by NPR would not say how Snowden managed to take the files out of his workplace, citing the ongoing investigation. Source: NPR

Add this carelessness to the fact that another government contractor, Aaron Alexis, was given secret security clearance despite several run-ins with the law and serious mental issues. This all happened post-911. Go figure.