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LA Times: Snowden Had 3 Helpers Inside NSA 148

retroworks writes "Three people at the National Security Agency have been implicated in Edward Snowden's efforts to copy classified material, including a civilian employee who resigned last month after acknowledging he allowed Snowden to use his computer ID, according to an NSA memo sent to Congress. The other two were an active-duty member of the military and a civilian contractor. The memo does not describe their conduct, but says they were barred from the NSA and its systems in August."
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LA Times: Snowden Had 3 Helpers Inside NSA

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  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:29AM (#46259423) Journal

    Nice to know... there are still humans around!

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:48AM (#46259513) Journal
    It remains to be seen if there will be any real change in the way governments are allowed to use surveillance with impunity.

    I watched a President pay lip service to reform and restriction, and I recall some initial outrage in the populace and the media...

    but if that's all there is, and this fades away as folks get back to their busy little lives, I am afraid the watchers will go back to work with a confidence reeking of our tacit permission.

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:01AM (#46259577) Homepage

    It is not all clear. If someone ''helped'' then they, in some way, knew what Snowden was about and so sharing-passwords/what-ever was a kind of tacit approval. If they simply acted to a job related request from a co-worker and did not know what Snowden was doing - can that be called helping ?

    Whatever: this story still has the wrong focus, it is about Snowden. Snowden should not be the story. The story should be about the illegal activities of the NSA.

  • by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:40AM (#46259757) Homepage

    This feels like a big fat smoke screen to me. This isn't about Snowden, it's about the federal governments wholesale wiretapping and warehousing of our personal data, an unprecedented overstep of policing and surveillance power. It's about secret FISA courts and undisclosed secret warrants that are rubber-stamped by appointed-for-life (unaccountable) federal judges in the name of national security. It's about a lack of oversight.

    Every time we make this about Snowden and how the data was collected, "they" win a little bit more.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @12:06PM (#46259875)

    When right turns to wrong, resistance becomes an obligation.

    Dictatorships all over the world have to rely on people who "only do their job". Without them, no dictatorship in history would have been possible. Whenever you study the makeup of a dictatorship, you'll notice that the die-hard proponents are only a tiny minority. Most people follow either out of opportunistic motivations, because they fear the repercussions if they don't, because they were brainwashed long enough to believe the bull they've been fed or because they simply don't care and just want to be left alone.

    As for "elected government". The Soviet Union had an elected government. That's no hallmark of a government that is beneficial for its country. If you complain that they only had one party, I can only tell you that I fail to see the difference between having one party or two parties that are essentially insignificantly different in those matters that actually matter. Being allowed to choose which bully should beat you up is no choice, it's a false dilemma at best.

  • by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @12:59PM (#46260155)

    Nice to know... there are still humans around!

    Were humans around:

    The memo does not describe their conduct, but says they were barred from the NSA and its systems in August.

    Once identified as non-[evil|corrupt|power-mongering|privacy-invading] humans, they were jettisoned lest they bring the tone of the organization up.

  • I fail to see why my rights as a US citizen are disregarded by US intelligence agencies operating overseas. And then there's my family in the US, whose rights are violated every time they communicate with me, or I with them.

    And before you start giving me any fast talk about borders and jurisdiction, please bear in mind that I remain liable for US taxes no matter where I live. So, in effect, I'm supposed to pay for these violations of my rights, and those of my family. Nice, huh.

  • Re:Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Imrik ( 148191 ) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @01:49PM (#46260399) Homepage

    Nobody in government wants to reduce government powers.

  • by Vitriol+Angst ( 458300 ) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @02:03PM (#46260479)

    President Barak H. Obama only said the Government will no longer store the data; he favours private corporation(s) to store the data until such time as the Government wants access thereto.

    Yeah, that's the exact same "end run around the Constitution" arrangement they were already using.

    A private corporation that is motivated by profits is WORSE than the government, which "on a good day with the wind blowing the right way" might have motivations or at least a whimsy to do something for the common good.

    Snowden was able to carry off a boatload of their snooping secrets BECAUSE they outsourced a lot of this. The economic model will always, always, always, put profits above all else unless you put a gun to their head. "Security" was just lip service. They will get the lowest wage workers and the lowest cost equipment that will fill the specs. If you don't pay top dollar, you can't get the loyalty of the corrupt people you want.

    They'll have to recruit from religious colleges to get people who will be naive enough to NOT KNOW this is wrong, and dutiful enough to do it without decent wages. Fascists tend to love theocrats because they are so damn useful. But if you've got fascism you need three things; Corruption, Loyalty, Intelligence. You can only have two of the three in any one person. This is why corrupt oligarchies and empires kill themselves off -- it's really the only reason Humanity has not quite yet extinguished itself.

    In WW II they fought both the East and the West -- because they took orders from idiots. And so their dedicated, loyal and religious people and their intelligent and loyal scientists, and their corrupt and evil Generals could not win with the best military in the world.

    The NSA, no matter how many brilliant people they bring in, will still have Rat Bastards, Egomaniacs, and Greedy Morons because those are the only ones you can trust to do the wrong thing on a consistent basis.

    It sounds like I've run all over the map here, going from the NSA to WW II and Religious Colleges, but I'm making short work of a larger dynamic that has been going on since the 80's in this country. There is a push towards supporting fundamentalist churches -- because certain power groups find them useful. It's the best way to get people to not fight for their own self interest -- to use the Heaven "lay away" plan. And they aren't looking for a hot war like WW II - -but it's the exact same type of elitists and manipulators at the top of America as were at the bottom of Nazi Germany. Anyone spending any time listening to the biographies of Rumsfeld and Cheney need only change the accent to understand the mindset.

    These people are rotten, and they are lapdogs for the super wealthy and connected and if you think the NSA is just about security, you probably were shocked by the Snowden revelations. The NSA is about preserving the status quo, and our military is the muscle for multinational organizations, and they support religious fundamentalism here and elsewhere because they create the justifications and make the best useful idiots.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @03:06PM (#46260815)

    Kim Philby was dedicated to the International Communist cause. You can read all about his intentions in his own book, "My Secret War". Although he tried to confuse the West with some intentional disinformation about specific intelligence operations, he was very honest and open about why he did what he did. He supported the Soviet Union because he believed in Communism . . . until he fled to Russia and saw what is actually was like in practice.

    Ironically, Philby, who provided the Soviet Union with enormous amounts of strategic and tactical intelligence, was not trusted by the Soviets. The KGB wanted nothing to do with him. They figured, once a traitor, always a traitor, and didn't want him in their rank and file. Only very later in his life he received a token position at the KGB.

    Snowden, on the other hand, has been very open and fervent in stating that his actions were NOT to harm the West or help the current Russian oligarchy. Snowden, is fighting for awareness of an American intelligence system that has clearly run off its rails, and is committing acts that are totally contrary to the beliefs upon which the nation was founded. Snowden is not a Communist.

    If England's King George III would have had the NSA, the American Revolution would have never succeeded.

    . . . and now the Queen of England has named the future King of England "George". Coincidence . . . I think not! Soon the Queen's proxy government in the US will be coming to confiscate your Long Kentucky Rifles, as well as your assault rifles. Don't trust anyone named "George!"

    . . . on the other hand, the American Revolution had "George" Washington, so I don't think the "George" enigma has been settled yet, and requires further investigation . . .

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde