Unclassified NSA memorandum provides further details on Snowden case

Pierluigi Paganini February 14, 2014

An unclassified NSA memorandum disclosed by the NBC News reveals Snowden allegedly managed to access classified documentation stealing coworker’s passwords.

The hypothesis that Edward Snowden has operated using a simple web-crawler is very curious, how is it possible that a lonely consultant had access to a so huge collection of documents from NSA archives? Why Does the NSA engage a so huge quantity of external consultant giving them secret documentation? In my opinion, it is an unforgivable mistake to report that disclosure of the leaked documents could endanger national security, when the chain of custody of those documents has been managed in an obscene manner. A consultant is not NSA personnel, and assign him visibility on some documents is absurd.

How he could leak the documents without any help by colleagues?

New disturbing background were reported in an unclassified NSA memorandum disclosed by the NBC News, Snowden allegedly managed to access classified documentation by stealing one of his coworker’s passwords. In November, the Reuters agency already reported the involvement of coworkers, Snowden persuaded other NSA workers to give up passwords. It was reported that nearly 25 workers who shared their passwords had been identified, questioned, and removed from their assignments, but the NSA avoided to reveal their identities, Snowden has always denied the involvement of colleagues.

 NSA memo on Snowden case

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

The unclassified NSA memorandum confirms the presence of three actors in the operations, one NSA’s civilian employee, an active duty member of the US Military and a contractor, they may have aided Snowden.  The NSA‘s civilian employee has resigned recently, he has admitted that he allowed Snowden to use his PKI certificate to access classified information from NSANet’, but he was not aware Snowden “intended to unlawfully disclose classified information,

The NSA memorandum also reports other two actors has been obstructed from accessing National Security Agency (NSA) facilities, they are currently under review by the authorities. The document states Snowden has requested civilian NSA employees and coworkers to enter the password “onto Snowden’s computer terminal,” it is not clear how he was able to capture it, but we all know the effects.

The civilian coworker sharing his PKI certificate and allowing Snowden to steal the password has advantaged the whistleblower,  as states the memo he “failed to comply with security obligations,”.

Standing to the NSA memo human factor was exploited to carry out the most extended information leakage to an intelligence agency.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Snowden, NSA memorandumPKI)

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