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NSA: Others Implicated in Making Snowden Data Leaks Possible 118

NBC News reports that "A civilian NSA employee recently resigned after being stripped of his security clearance for allowing former agency contractor Edward Snowden to use his personal log-in credentials to access classified information, according to an agency memo obtained by NBC News. In addition, an active duty member of the U.S. military and a contractor have been barred from accessing National Security Agency facilities after they were 'implicated' in actions that may have aided Snowden, the memo states. Their status is now being reviewed by their employers, the memo says." You can read the memo for yourself.
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NSA: Others Implicated in Making Snowden Data Leaks Possible

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  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:37PM (#46238799)

    The NSA, the "experts" in computer security, doesn't use hardware access tokens? Everyone knows that passwords can be compromised (and a PKI certificate adds little since an attacker could copy the cert).

    Though I guess since the NSA already hacked RSA, they knew they couldn't trust RSA tokens.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We can't let folks think that they could get away with this, of course.

    • This was my immediate thought too....

      • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @01:21PM (#46239177)
        My immediate thought was: They fire, Investigate and prosecute everyone involved except those in power that systematically broke our laws on a massive scale and violated our constitution. If ever there was an example of how far we have sunk into a corporate fascist dictatorship hiding behind words like "freedom", "democracy", then this must be it.
  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:42PM (#46238857)

    It has been obvious to me for a while that Snowden did not act alone, and that he probably represents a surface manifestation of deep divisions within the intelligence community.

    • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:58PM (#46238997) Homepage Journal

      Given that a lot of people in intelligence communities believe they are working for the good side, I have no troubles believing your hypothesis.

      Anyway, when a guy leaks about possibly corrupt institutions, and the reaction is on the guy and possible accomplices, don't we have a bigger problem? It means justice is in bed with corrupt institutions.

      • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @01:02PM (#46239025) Homepage Journal

        It means justice is in bed with corrupt institutions.

        No. It means that justice is dead and the corrupt institutions have a penchant for necrophilia and buggery.

      • by ZouPrime ( 460611 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @02:08PM (#46239533)

        > Given that a lot of people in intelligence communities believe they are working for the good side, I have no troubles believing your hypothesis.

        A truckload of people in the security and intelligence communities have issues with domestic surveillance and were against the Patriot Act from the very begining. It's far from a minority opinion.

      • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @04:53PM (#46240825)

        The Feb. 10 memo was signed by Ethan Bauman, the NSA’s director of legislative affairs. It was sent to the congressional committees after repeated questions from senior members about whether the NSA intended to hold any of its employees accountable for the security lapses that enable Snowden to gain access to massive volumes of classified documents that he later leaked to the news media.
        “Has anybody been disciplined at NSA for dropping the ball so badly?” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., demanded of NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander at a Dec. 11 hearing. Alexander at the time replied that the agency had three “cases” that “we’re currently reviewing.” (An NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines declined comment Wednesday night, writing in an email: “I don’t have anything for your story.”)

        They don't want to stop spying and shitting on personal liberties, they want people held accountable for giving a whistle blower access to data. TFA is of course a piece of government run propaganda^W^W^Wshit, who never does real journalism. They simply repeat the "kill the messenger" message these hearings bring out from the people holding government offices. A real journalist asks real questions, and points out truth that should make people uncomfortable if they are doing something wrong.

        Snowden denied claims of "tricking" people or "stealing" long ago. I think the more likely collaboration was people sympathetic to his cause who gave access and pointed at things. This means they are not jailed as being whistle blowers, because.. well there is a history of (especially this administration) punishing whistle blowers.

        What does TFA and the message boil down to? Easy, more "kill the whistle blowers" message and more "fuck the citizens" messages. Not one lick of journalism of course, just more repeated propaganda.

      • by skribe ( 26534 )
        Everyone believes they are working on the good side. Even Hitler and his cronies believed they were doing good by eliminating the Jews, Romany, homosexuals and others. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. </godwin>
    • Hmm, I got the impression that he did act alone. In his interviews, he stated that he knew if he didn't act, nobody else would.

    • Unbeknownst to many in our "Security USA Hell Yeah! Inc." there may be real heroes hidden behind those made in China flag pins.

  • by blackwizard ( 62282 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:45PM (#46238893)
    I can easily imagine a situation where he calls up someone with access to classified info, and says something like, "this is Snowden from IT; we're having problems restoring the backup of your encrypted data files on such-and-such server; can you loan me your login information so we can properly validate the checksums? You can change your password right afterward."
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:58PM (#46238993) Homepage

      It has already been revealed he did stuff like that.

      But at an agency which is supposed to be secretive and paranoid -- if you have people falling for that, they're really not qualified to be working in that kind of environment.

      Every few months my company sends out test emails to check for phishing, people's likelihood to click on spam, or chance of falling for social engineering. If you fail, you get sent to remedial data security training. If you repeatedly fail, they might decide you can't really be trusted around computers.

      If the NSA has people who are not aware enough of these things to not do it, then they're doing a piss-poor job of training their people. There really is no excuse for people who have access to Top Secret information falling for this kind of thing -- there should never be a situation in which it makes sense to give your password to IT as far as I'm concerned.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It doesn't take much to breach security when you can exploit peoples' ignorance, especially when it comes to complex matters like PKI. I once worked at a company that provided PKI services to fortune 500 companies. At one point, we asked for a customers' CA certificate to troubleshoot an issue they were seeing. They exported it from the CA in PFX format **INCLUDING THE PRIVATE KEY**!
    • Read the memo. The user entered it themselves, he just manipulated them into doing so on a machine he controlled (eg keylogger)

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:54PM (#46238959)

    “At Snowden’s request,” the civilian NSA employee, who is not identified by name, entered his password onto Snowden’s computer terminal, the memo states.

    “Unbeknownst to the civilian, Mr. Snowden was able to capture the password, allowing him even greater access to classified information,” the memo states.

    Snowden lied to the other employee in order to steal classified information.

    • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @01:15PM (#46239123) Homepage
      so, we have an unknown person making claims that his account was stolen with a keylogger. Call me skeptical but I need a little more than an un named employee. Lets hear it from the employee, not the group in the process of doing damage control.

      I am not sayign that this is not how snowden got the information, Im just saying I need more proof than the guys who are using unconstitutional secret courts word for it
    • It's hardly Snowden's fault that his fellow employees were too stupid to follow basic computer security procedures, like not entering their passwords on untrusted systems.

      If these are the kinds of people who work for the NSA, wouldn't you want them kicked out of their jobs ASAP?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's hardly Snowden's fault that his fellow employees were too stupid to follow basic computer security procedures, like not entering their passwords on untrusted systems.

        Untrusted systems? Unless the NSA's policy is that you can only log in on your own machine, presumably other computers at the NSA count as trusted.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe he did, maybe he didn't.

      Snowden has already repeatedly demonstrated that virtually every NSA public communication, including those given under oath to Congress -- were completely, utterly false/fabricated/misleading/specious, bullshit.

      These generally weren't little lies/whitewashing/spinning, they were total bullshit.

      This has happened repeatedly.

      At this point, *ANY* statement from the NSA about how things happened or what happened, should be taken with the same level of confidence we would take from a

    • YANAL (Score:4, Interesting)

      by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @05:54PM (#46241275)

      This is what is called speculation, and would be thrown out in court. Snowden claimed long ago he didn't, these people are claiming he did. I trust Snowden a bit more than I trust most of the shitheads we currently have in Government, and could easily find character witnesses who are unbiased to support Snowden.

      Keep being distracted by all the hand waives though.

      For what it's worth, IANAL either. I am not fooled by the distractions they keep playing against people.

  • What he accomplished, worth much more in so many levels, that social engineering, lies or even keylogger, means nothing.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ....umbrella, as we used to say.

    This reminds me of some famous quote that the military is always prepared to win...past battles....

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @01:15PM (#46239133)

    This just in!

    Officials are investigating the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which is alleged to have aided Snowden in getting to and from secure facilities!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    finding low level scapegoats

  • by Subm ( 79417 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @01:21PM (#46239169)

    > Others Implicated in Making Snowden Data Leaks Possible

    Since Snowden mentioned Clapper's lying to Congress got him to release the documents, I'd start by implicating Clapper.

    From there it's hard not to implicate the Presidents who didn't honor their pledge to uphold the Constitution. Congress. Decision-makers within the NSA.

    Without all of them, there would be nothing for Snowden to release.

    • I'm willing to lend a benefit of the doubt to the Presidents and such, but this does not extend to Clapper.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He used a Key Logger and Data Scraper, nothing complicated. Just goes to show the NSA has no clue regarding secure systems!

  • All we know for sure is that there's a witch involved in here somewhere, and she will be hunted down and burned!
  • The government has failed to uphold it's most basic responsibility of upholding the constitution, what makes you all think they are effective in handling computer security? It is in fact ineffective in a lot more ways than that.

  • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @05:27PM (#46241129)

    The accomplices were the perps who violated our Constitution. Without them, Snowden would have had nothing to expose.

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.