NSA Security

Report: Snowden Impersonated Others For Access

Some of us may have already assumed this, but according to a report from NBC News, sources in the intelligence community have confirmed that Edward Snowden abused his privileges as an administrator and used the credentials of others with higher security clearance to access documents.

Edward Snowden accessed some secret national security documents by assuming the electronic identities of top NSA officials, said intelligence sources. [...]

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

Each user profile on NSAnet includes a level of security clearance that determines what files the user can access. Like most NSA employees and contractors, Snowden had a “top secret” security clearance, meaning that under his own user profile he could access many classified documents. But some higher level NSA officials have higher levels of clearance that give them access to the most sensitive documents.

For him to abuse his administrative privileges to impersonate others with higher clearance runs contradictory to his initial claims that anyone could do what he did and more.

  • Zen Diesel

    I hope his time in Mother Russia is a miserable one.

  • JB20005

    Nothing like a little whistleblowing via computer fraud.

    So, how has The Glenn tried to hand wave this revelation away?

  • FlipYrWhig

    More and more it seems like what Edward Snowden exposed was that Edward Snowden could be a huge pain in the ass. It’s like he became worried when he realized that his workstation had fallen into the hands of someone like him.

  • nathkatun7

    As far as I am concerned, Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower. He is a traitor. It is now increasingly obvious why Putin gave him asylum. This was in exchange for the U.S. Classified information Snowden gave him.

    • Badgerite

      I think you are right. A whistle blower, acting on issues of conscience running off to China or Russia never really made any sense. A defector/traitor looking for a safe place abroad from which to attack American intelligence capabilities always did. None of his characterizations either about the NSA programs or about himself rang true.

  • Nick2000

    Actually “impersonating” a user is a basic operating system feature available to any system administrator. I use it all the time. Of course non sysadmins will think it’s magic…
    Summary: avoid commenting on things you do not understand

    • Christopher Foxx

      If Snowden was able to emulate/impersonate users who had higher clearance then he, then that is a security flaw.

      • Nick2000

        I fully agree with you. It seems that the NSA may be good at cracking encryption or such but networks are not their forte.

        • I think it means that Booz Allen Hamilton needs to be taken to the cleaners.

          • The NSA actually knew about this “little” security flaw and were planning on re-reviewing 4,000 sys admins (including contractors) when Snowden went public. So they know it’s a problem but….too little, too late….

          • grrrrr

    • JMAshby

      I didn’t say it was magic, what I said was it runs counter to his claim that anyone at the NSA could do what he did. That clearly isn’t the case. Every sysadmin may have been able to, but he was not that specific. He made it sound as if any employee could do it.

  • Some idiots think that makes him a genius.

    • blackdaug

      “Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” an anonymous former intelligence official told NBC. “This is why you don’t hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.”

      I think I just threw up a little there…….

      • drspittle

        I still think Snowden had help. He did not do this by himself. This story keeps getting more bizarre each day. It amazes me how very few journalists are verifying his claims, though I did hear Pro Publica is about to start an investigation and analysis.

      • It may just be me, but I am wondering if the did the little air quotes each time he said “brilliant”.

  • blackdaug

    Rather than paste in comments made here in June or July…

  • Schneibster

    It also means he’s not a whistleblower.

  • BlueTrooth

    Yes…we knew that. Yes…we know that Snowden is not a whistleblower. Yes…we know Snowden’s true intentions. If his name was al-Snadine or Snodensk, we might move this story along a little quicker.

    • missliberties

      I posted this in another thread, but I think it is worth repositng.

      “The kinds of documents being released (including the Black Budget) are meant to undermine the ability of the NSA to carry out its operations. It’s meant to put a strain on US relations with allies, and give enemies, potential targets, and terrorists a heads’ up on tactics and measures to track down and maintain surveillance on operations that could threaten US national security.” ~Charles Johnson


      While the freak bags on the ‘left’ celebrate these new revelations, because….. transparency is crucial as we try to uncover secret sites where Sarin gas is stored in Syria?