Snowden As Trickster, Traitor, Hero?

Edward SnowdenPhoto by AK Rockefeller

As people’s stances on Snowden vary like winter in Georgia year to year, we won’t dive into the traitor/hero argument today, rather, we’ll simply jump ahead to a report that Snowden tricked a number of his co-workers into revealing their passwords for his data dump.

An internal National Security Agency memo that was shared with a number of members of Congress, and consequently NBC News, paints a picture of how Snowden was able to access the information he absconded with last year. The memo directly contradicts Snowden’s account of his breach.

The memo

The memo reads: “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.”

Apparently, the NSA can use unbeknownst in a sentence but can’t protect its biggest secrets.

The NSA pointed out to Congress that the employee in question had his clearance revoked immediately. “The civilian was not aware that Mr. Snowden intended to unlawfully disclose classified information,” the memo said. “However, by sharing his PKI certificate, he failed to comply with security obligations.” The man resigned from employment with the NSA in January.

NBC News is also reporting that two others, one a contractor and the other an active duty member of the military had their access to NSA data nearly revoked but were not interested in revealing the names of the two involved.

Snowden denial

The surfacing of this memo comes following a report by Reuters that suggested that Snowden “may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers” to give him their passwords. This stands in direct contradiction to what Snowden had to say in a public chat last month where he denied this saying, “the Reuters report that put this out there was simply wrong. I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers.”



About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com