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Snowden Spoofed Top Officials' Identity To Mine NSA Secrets 743

Posted by timothy
from the would-you-rather-he-hadn't? dept.
schnell writes "As government investigators continue to try to figure out just how much data whistleblower Edward Snowden had access to, MSNBC is reporting that Snowden used his sysadmin privileges to assume the user profiles of top NSA officials in order to gain access to the most sensitive files. His sysadmin privileges also enabled him to do something other NSA users can't — download classified files from NSAnet onto a thumb drive. 'Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,' said a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case. 'This is why you don't hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.'"
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Snowden Spoofed Top Officials' Identity To Mine NSA Secrets

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  • Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsborg (111459) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:11PM (#44707875) Homepage

    "Brilliant people get you in trouble.'"

    More like "Brilliant people expose the trouble you're currently in".
    The security-state here keeps saying "if you don't have anything to hide, then you don't need privacy"

    Well, if the NSA weren't doing shit that warranted whistleblowers, they wouldn't have the problems they currently do.

    • by Rob Riggs (6418) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:24PM (#44708045) Homepage Journal
      That's why I play dumb. Yeah -- that's it. I'm really brilliant in disguise so I will get hired. And keep up the facade so I won't get fired.
    • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lorenlal (164133) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:31PM (#44708137)

      I'm more worried that they're saying he was "brilliant." Those actions are trivial. I'm disappointed that's all he had to do to get that info.

      Agree with his actions or not, anyone who declared him anything more than "some sysadmin who took some liberties with his access" shouldn't be in charge of gathering, investigating or protecting anyone's sensitive data.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        The "brilliant" comment was obviously not in specific reference to the sentence that was placed before it in the slashdot summary. If he did anything especially clever, I would guess they are not publicizing the details.
      • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:42PM (#44708287)

        I'm more worried that they're saying he was "brilliant."

        Yeah, well, that's because they want to portrait him as a brilliant evil genuis who should be incarcerated for the rest of his life (as he's obviously so dangerous) rather than just a guy who downloaded stuff on his thumbdrive because their internal security was shit.

        • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Informative)

          by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:48PM (#44708369) Homepage

          Just goes to show what utter trash journalism has become. Invariably, if you have any knowledge of a subject you can't get over just how badly "journalists" get things wrong or intentionally leave out crucial details.

          A sysadmin had root? Imagine that?

          • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:13PM (#44708721) Homepage

            And exactly when do you think this was different? When Walter Cronkite was alive? When Ogg told Grog what happened to Paris the other night?

            Is this way, was this way, will always be this way.

            • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

              by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:43PM (#44709027)
              I agree, same thing with music, movies, and probably anything. You remember the highlights, not the mundane, average, everyday shit. For every Woodward and Bernstein uncovering watergates, you have ten thousand reporters dutifully transcribing whatever it is the press secretary or other spokesperson tells them and handing that propaganda over to the consumers. We remember the great ones who stand out, the rest are forgotten. That can be misinterpreted as assuming that all the past reporters were good. Same thing if you look back on the movies of yesteryear, you only keep the ones that are good, it can be tempting to compare the classics to the shit currently in theaters and conclude that only good movies were made decades ago and only shitty movies are made now.

              The good news is, it's ALWAYS happened, so it's not like civilization is crumbing. Journalism has pretty much always been this shitty, so we're not heading into a dark age. At least, not because of that. Also with the internet, that's something that actually can change journalism and is. So it's not getting worse, and it could get better.

              I'm very optimistic, and I think I have good reason for that. For example, before the internet this story [cnn.com] would have stood on its own. Rumsfeld making a blatantly hypocritical statement, without the "journalist" bothering to note Rumsfelds hypocrisy, would have been just out there for people to read without any crosstalk. The comments on it point out that problem, and perhaps the article will get updated or corrected. Not likely, but more likely than it would have been 20 years ago.
            • by almechist (1366403) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @06:02PM (#44711293)

              And exactly when do you think this was different? When Walter Cronkite was alive? When Ogg told Grog what happened to Paris the other night?

              Is this way, was this way, will always be this way.

              I’m sorry, no. Things most definitely were NOT always like this. When Walter Cronkite told you “that’s the way it is,” you could believe that he was reporting as accurately as he could, using material gathered by some of the best investigative journalists in the business, and most importantly, with little or no thought to whether the news he was reporting would negatively affect or offend the corporate bosses at CBS. There was a reason he was called “the most trusted man in America,” because he literally was just that, continually ranked in polls for trustworthiness above presidents, clergymen, fellow pundits, you name it. You don’t get that kind of reputation unearned.

              Hard to imagine today, but back then the networks genuinely competed against each other for viewers, and news departments quickly became the most prestigious part of that struggle. There was very little editorializing, and almost none that wasn’t clearly labeled as such. The networks simply didn’t try to spin things a certain way as we see now. I suspect enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine had a lot to do with that, certainly it seems like the long decline of the American media began soon after the FCC decided to do away with the FD, along with many other existing useful regulations, such as the ones preventing industry consolidation into exactly the kind of huge media conglomerates we have today. Those long forgotten regulations were perhaps a big part of why the media in those days was so much more trustworthy than what we have now, although I can‘t prove this.

              The end result is that today when I access any of the big American news organizations, I no longer believe I am getting the best information possible. Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt and a dollop of serious consideration regarding the parent company’s corporate stance on a given issue. More and more I find myself having to look at overseas sources (BBC, etc) to get any real feel for how things truly stand. It’s a sad state of affairs, and one that is very hard to convey to those born and raised in post-Reagan America. The news media in those days was far from perfect, but for trustworthiness, believability, accuracy, and absence of pervasive editorial slant, it was in general far superior to anything existing today.

          • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

            by retchdog (1319261) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:17PM (#44708763) Journal

            Didn't the NSA contribute significantly to SELinux, the entire point of which was to enforce access controls so that root wouldn't be omniscient?

            Either they weren't using it internally (which would be a bit odd, but not surprising), or they were using it improperly (which is extremely likely), or it was implemented correctly and Snowden was actually very clever (which is somewhat unlikely).

            • Re:Amended quote (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:41PM (#44709015) Homepage

              "The NSA has already identified several instances where Snowden borrowed someone else’s user profile to access documents, said the official."

              Well, you are assuming 2 things:

              1. 1) The journalist is using correct terminology
              2. 2) The system in question was Linux based.

              That being said, even if it was Linux based, the article doesn't claim he "accessed the data as root"; it says he assumed the "online" identity of top officials. In other words he logged in as, or otherwise tricked the system into auth'ing him as, other users. Of course, the very fact that the journalist calls it an "online identity" makes it clear that the journalist doesn't understand a lick of what he is writing.

          • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:19PM (#44708797)
            The problem is that almost all news consists of reporting what politicians and other figures are saying, rather than doing any ACTUAL research. Any sentence implying that Snowden is "brilliant" for using his privelages in the way that he did should be immediately followed by a line in the news story saying "However, our research shows that anyone with a passing interest in computers and especially systems administration could have done the same thing with ease". Journalists need to start calling people out on their bullshit with actual facts rather than reporting "Well according to obviously biased source A..."
            • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Kal Zekdor (826142) <kal.zekdor@gmail.com> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:43PM (#44709025) Homepage

              ..."However, our research shows that anyone with a passing interest in computers and especially systems administration could have done the same thing with ease"...

              Why do you think the NSA is trying to get rid of all their sysadmins?

              • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

                by lightknight (213164) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @04:12PM (#44709955) Homepage

                For the same reason that the Air Force is trying to get rid of all of their jet mechanics -> they're obviously in a position to promote sabotage, and should not be let anywhere near a plane, even to do their jobs, because of what they might do; instead, they need to be watched by people who have zero understanding of what it is they are attempting to accomplish, and who will question them every step of the way, until that aggravation forces them into acting out some 'aggression.'

            • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:44PM (#44709039) Homepage

              "Journalists need to start calling people out on their bullshit with actual facts rather than reporting "Well according to obviously biased source A...""

              Each journalist gets to do that exactly once, after which he will never be granted an interview with the same agency again. I'm not saying it is right ... I'm just saying. There aren't many real journalists left in the US, unfortunately.

        • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:15PM (#44708747)

          How do you propose keeping a sysadmin that needs root access to do their job from being able to copy something to a thumb drive? You can ban thumb drives, but then they could just write the files to a different server that they can access from home. If someone needs root access for their job, there's no amount of security that can keep them from either copying secrets or breaking the system if they're so inclined. The only solution is hiring trustworthy admins.

          • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:48PM (#44709079) Homepage

            " The only solution is hiring trustworthy admins."

            No. You have that bass-ackwards. The whole problem is that they hired a trustworthy admin. They should have hired one who was willing to be complicit in their crimes.

          • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Richy_T (111409) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:48PM (#44709087) Homepage

            The only problem is, if you're doing things which are unconscionable, your only choice is to hire someone without a conscience. And there goes your trustability.

          • Re:Amended quote (Score:4, Insightful)

            by bws111 (1216812) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:56PM (#44709167)

            You start with an OS that has proper separation of duties so that there is no 'root access'. For instance, the person responsible for maintaining the software on the system should not be able to access any data other than the software he is maintaining. The person 'operating' the system (startup, shutdown, network control, etc) also does not need access to user data. The person doing security admin should not be allowed to alter his own authority, and does not need access to user data. Etc. Relying on 'trustworthy admins' is just stupid.

        • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

          by lightknight (213164) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:20PM (#44708811) Homepage

          Well, they'd have to, wouldn't they? I mean, come on...anyone who has worked IT has been laughing at the NSA's published accounts of Snowden's 'infiltration' and 'hacking' since day one; a jury of his peers would have trouble seeing him as using any special means to access the information contained therein.

          The only people who would find this surprising are people who are JUST NOW being introduced to how computer security works, or why network admins used to be paid extremely well. It's like pointing out to the President of a large corporation that their chief shark (head legal counsel) knows exactly what evil they've been doing for the last several years, and that they've been cutting his wages relentlessly for years...if this is news to them, they need to be fired; they're obviously not qualified to run a hamburger stand, let alone a large entity.

          What more, their extreme stupidity, in the form of 'doubling down' when confronted with a threat is somehow a perfect epitaph to their lifestyle. Years of treating the servants poorly, now facing paranoia, they turn to violence to instil a sense of loyalty in their 'troops.'

          • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @03:19PM (#44709395) Homepage

            Investigators are baffled at the sophistication of the attack, being that PRISM grew out of ECHELON & Carnivore which was ported from old Unix systems to run on the more secure Microsoft OS platform. Compromise was thought highly unlikely especially since many employees are on record citing the feats "nearly impossible to remotely administer."

            Experts say Snowden used the an obscure "Shell Command", frequently associated with copyright pirates, to display every last file he stole: "De Aye Yar!"
            Worse still, reports confirm that C.P. was his favorite, and was integral to his hacking scheme! Won't someone think of the children?!

        • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Chelloveck (14643) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @03:06PM (#44709273) Homepage

          Yeah, well, that's because they want to portrait him as a brilliant evil genuis who should be incarcerated for the rest of his life (as he's obviously so dangerous) rather than just a guy who downloaded stuff on his thumbdrive because their internal security was shit.

          This. A thousand times this.

          Read the two articles linked in the summary. They're both on NBC news and published within three days of each other, and both are essentially the same story. The difference in the articles?

          The older one (byline "Richard Esposito and Matthew Cole") says, "Duh. He's a sysadmin. He's capable of creating accounts with arbitrary permissions, and of violating the air gap between the secure and insecure sides. Of course he can do that, it's in his job description!"

          The newer one (byline "Richard Esposito, Matthew Cole and Robert Windrem") says, "Whoa! This guy knows how to impersonate people on a computer! No one but a brilliant uber-hacker could do that! This guy is a menace! An evil genius of a degree seen only in Bond villains!"

          I don't read or watch NBC news, and I've never even heard of any of these reporters before. But my guess is that Esposito and Cole are the tech beat guys, and Windrem is managerial. If we assume stupidity, Windrem simply said "This story is dull. I'd better punch it up a bit." If we assume malice, Windrem said "This makes the NSA sound dumb. Let's play it for the brilliant hacker angle instead." If we assume conspiracy, some nice men in dark sunglasses approached Windrem and said "This story doesn't fit with our narrative of Snowden being a dirty rotten traitor. Fix it."

      • by SirGarlon (845873)
        Spoofing someone's user ID is not brilliant, but finding and exfiltrating 20,000 documents without getting caught may have been harder than it sounds.
      • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:54PM (#44708467)
        Snowden raises two issues for the NSA. He exposed their crimes, and he also made them look really bad.
        br. By saying he was "brilliant," they deal with the second one. "What? No, this isn't a security lapse. This is a supervillain spy hacker genius! We've dealt with him, there's no one else out there who can penetrate our defenses. You're safe. Ask no more questions, there are no monsters under your bed, save for the ones you pay us to protect you from."
      • Re:Amended quote (Score:5, Interesting)

        by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:06PM (#44708645) Journal

        I'm more worried that they're saying he was "brilliant." Those actions are trivial. I'm disappointed that's all he had to do to get that info.

        Agree with his actions or not, anyone who declared him anything more than "some sysadmin who took some liberties with his access" shouldn't be in charge of gathering, investigating or protecting anyone's sensitive data.

        THIS.

        I came to post the same thing. This is like calling a child that signs their parents name on a school note as "brilliant". Sysadmin has access to everything, it's like saying the locksmith is "brilliant" for opening the door.

    • Re:Amended quote (Score:4, Insightful)

      by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @02:03PM (#44708605) Homepage Journal

      Any kind of honest person gets you in trouble, if you're doing something they don't consider honest. Ditty any kind of ethical person, moral person, etc. Of course, any of these can be wrong about whether or not you're doing something dishonest.

      Conversely, any kind of dishonest (unethical, immoral, etc) person can get you in trouble if they do something dishonest, unethical, etc.

      It doesn't matter who you're hiring, if what you do can be misused, at some point you'll need to discover, usually publicly, if it's being misused or not.

      Cops are used to that: they often have people "watching the watchers". Spies aren't used to it, they're used to keeping stuff secret, so they have way more trouble with it (:-))

      --dave

  • Brilliant? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Traze (1167415) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:11PM (#44707883)
    So, having a way to change your identity to another users is brilliant? All System Admins must be brilliant!
  • by intermodal (534361) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:12PM (#44707885) Homepage Journal

    You either get brilliant or you get mildly capable. Smart people know they don't want to work in that environment. Brilliant people will take the job knowing they can use it to some kind of end. Mildly capable people handle requests and not much more, but are just happy to have a stable job in their field.

  • Brilliant? (Score:5, Informative)

    by khb (266593) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:12PM (#44707889)

    Surely someone at the NSA knows about multi-level security, SELinux, and the like. No one should have had root access. Having architected the system so poorly, it hardly took a genius to walk off with their secrets.

    • by hjf (703092) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:16PM (#44707943) Homepage

      Yes... surely SOMEONE at the NSA knows about SELinux!

  • Brilliant? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geoskd (321194) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:13PM (#44707907)

    Umm, ok, now you have to be brilliant to "sudo su ".

    This guy was a sysadmin. He had physical level access to the hardware. Anybody who is in that job and is competent can do what Snowden did. (or am I missing some as yet undisclosed salient detail?)

    • Re:Brilliant? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:22PM (#44708021)

      Umm, ok, now you have to be brilliant to "sudo su ".

      According to 99.99999% of the population. Yes.
      Which of course makes most of us here freaking geniuses.

    • by Rob Riggs (6418) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:25PM (#44708061) Homepage Journal

      Umm, ok, now you have to be brilliant to "sudo su ".

      Sucker. Now you'll never get hired by the NSA.

    • Re:Brilliant? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MiniMike (234881) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:29PM (#44708107)

      Well, which sounds better as a defense?

      1) We got hacked by methods any average or better than average sysadmin could use. Thus our entire architecture is at risk at this can happen multiple more times. We have no adequate defense against this, and are thoroughly screwed.

      or

      2) We got hacked by a BRILLIANT HACKER! No one could have foreseen the ninja-like moves he used against us! Now that we've closed the obscure loophole that he used, the only flaw in our otherwise perfect system, our files are safe for eternity! Yay us!

      It seems like they're going with #2.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:14PM (#44707915)

    That explains why they really, really, really wanted to get their claws into him.

    Forget the extreme negligence of morality of what they were doing, forget the fact that he leaked those secrets to international press.

    It's just 100% pride. And I bet those top officials are the ones gunning for him.

    Until they realize that what they were doing was unacceptable, this will continue.

    And I expect it will continue for a very long time..

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:16PM (#44707935)

    "This is why you don't hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble." -- a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case.

    Um... no. What is described in TFA is not "brilliant" at all, but a necessary part of being a sysadmin: you have control over user profiles.

    The fact that the "former official" does not seem to realize this does not lead us to conclude that Snowden was brilliant... but rather that the mentioned official was anything but.

    • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:59PM (#44708537)
      What they _really_ want are sociopaths; people (Men) that have no empathy for others and kinda get off on having great power and lending a hand in bringing suffering and grief to 'things' they have no more sympathy for than ants under their magnifying glass.

      The greatest enemy of the NSA, et al is conscience.
  • by Tridus (79566) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:16PM (#44707941) Homepage

    The only thing that came to mind with the suggestion that they not hire brilliant people:

    "An intelligence organization that fears intelligence? Historically, not awesome."
    - Tony Stark

  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:16PM (#44707949)
    Sometimes I feel that these "former U.S. officials" and "anonymous staff members" should STFU. It just seems like they use their anonymity to say random shit that will create headlines and stroke their ego. The "don't hire brilliant people" quotation is just stupid. No one that would have to be responsible for their words would say that.
  • Brilliant? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kreplock (1088483) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:17PM (#44707953)
    A sysadmin manipulating access privs hardly seems brilliant. Now if he'd leveraged some software exploits shortly before implementing patches that address said exploits, that would indicate a much greater knowledge of the systems he was looting - a certain grace or panache, if you will. I guess this "brilliant" quote is what you get when people who see these systems as a black box are doing the talking. I'm thinking reality resembles less Snowden brilliance and more NSA caught with their pants down.
  • Seriously?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SecurityGuy (217807) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:19PM (#44707971)

    This isn't brilliance, this is just poor security. This is systems that had a vulnerable audit trail, or didn't bother auditing enough, or created records no one ever looked at. Surely user snowden su-ing to some top official throws a red flag somewhere, right? If not, why not?

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:19PM (#44707973) Homepage

    Inside the NSA is probably an amusing place to bea fly on the wall at the moment. All sorts of new procedures to try to stop someone else doing the same thing. However: it won't work, any defences that a man can put in place can be circumvented by another man, especially one working on the inside. They can make it hard, but not impossible - at least if they want their systems to remain useful. They have, at some level, to trust people to be able to operate.

    The only way that the NSA can stop future embarassing revelations is for it to behave in a reasonable and moral way. That means a complete change of culture.

    I did not say ''behave in a legal way'' since corrupt laws can easily be written.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:20PM (#44707985) Homepage

    It sounds like despite the initial protestations of how he'd exaggerated his abilities, and those of the surveillance program ... it's all proving to be true.

    That his sysadmin privileges let him access stuff which was much more classified doesn't change that the system is capable of doing this, and likely is on a large scale.

    So we've got a wide-reaching, in cases probably illegal system which can and does tap into everything -- and apparently the amount of oversight and controls they have on this is very limited.

  • by mounthood (993037) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:24PM (#44708051)

    All these people "with knowledge of the case" better watch-out they don't go off-message or they could find themselves hunted as whistle-blowers too, but they'll be OK as long as they keep talking about Snowden and not crimes he exposed.

  • Dear NSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@[ ]cast.net ['com' in gap]> on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:36PM (#44708197)

    You need to hire some of these "brilliant" people so that you don't get snowed by a Snowden. By all accounts he accomplished what he did by having incompetent management above him. This was a management problem, and one that you knew better about, or should have known better about - if you had some of those brilliant people who knew what they were doing in management!

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:39PM (#44708247)

    " 'This is why you don't hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.'"

    No, what happens is when you do shit that shocks the conscience, someone, somewhere, is going to expose you for the douchebag that you are.

    Stop being a douchebag.

    --
    BMO

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:47PM (#44708347) Journal

    So the whole "anybody could get access to this data at any time, even without a court order" is really more like "anyone with the appropriate privileges, which is limited to a select number of analysis, can access these records, which are protected by a court order. Except, of course, the sysadmin who breaks all of the rules, steals the credentials of authorized analysis, and then downloads whatever he wants.

    Short of giving one key to a judge in a two key system and tying up an entire justice department staff to baby site every single access, there isn't a way around this particular scenario. It's baked into the whole clearance and trust model.

  • by fastgriz (1052034) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @01:50PM (#44708395)
    Given their track record, anything the NSA says should be considered to be a lie. Therefore, if they say Snowden used his 1337 h4x0r skillz to break the rules, it is a safe bet that he did not do anything of the sort and the NSA is just fabricating a story to pacify lawmakers asking how this could happen. Since they commit perjury in front of Congress with impunity, lying to reporters wouldn't even be a blip on a NSA spin-doctor's moral radar.

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