It’s now widely known that Booz Allen contractor Edward Snowden pilfered documents from the NSA and gave them to journalists (and probably governments) in an effort, he claims, to expose U.S. government spying apparatus.
Less known until today was exactly how he did it.
Tim Gjelten of NPR reports that he simply downloaded them off the company’s internal Top Secret (TS) net:
According to the officials, the documents Snowden leaked — the memoranda, PowerPoint slides, agency reports, court orders and opinions — had all been stored in a file-sharing location on the NSA’s intranet site. The documents were put there so NSA analysts and officials could read them online and discuss them.
Snowden, because he had TS clearance, had access to this net. Not only that, but his job description provided him cover to be the one moving documents around on that net.
“It’s kind of brilliant, if you’re him,” an official said to Gjelten. “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.”
Strangely these comments are in direct contrast with the previous NSA narrative, which painted Snowden as a brilliant cyber tactician who masked his movements on the net — leaving officials clueless as to what he took.
Call me paranoid, I’m starting to believe that maybe, just maybe, the NSA might not always be truthful when they tell us things.