Edward Snowden successfully assumed the electronic identities of top NSA officials to access some of the secret National Security Agency documents he leaked, Richard Esposito, Matthew Cole and Robert Windrem of NBC News report.

“Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case 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.”

The 30-year-old’s role as a “system administrator” meant that he was able to access NSAnet, the agency’s intranet, using those user profiles and without leaving any signature.

An official told NBC that the NSA identified several instances in which the elite NSA-trained hacker impersonated officials, and that the spy agency’s forensic investigation is “trying to figure out which higher level officials Snowden impersonated online to access the most sensitive documents.”

His role as system administrator also meant that he had the ability to download files from his computer to an external storage device — Snowden reportedly downloaded tens of thousands of classified documents onto thumb drives before flying from Hawaii to Hong Kong on May 20.

“The damage, on a scale of 1 to 10, is a 12,” a former intelligence official told NBC.

On Monday Esposito and Cole reported that Snowden functioned as a “ghost user,” meaning that he was able “look at any file he wanted, and his actions were largely unaudited.”

Last week Michael Isikoff, Cole, and Esposito reported that the NSA is “overwhelmed” does not know the full extent of the tens of thousands of documents the former NSA contractor took from its system.

Snowden is currently living in Russia.

Source: Business Insider



ZyXEL NSA325 - NAS - Serial ATA-600 - RAID 0, 1, JBOD - Gigabit Ethernet NSA325 picture
ZyXEL NSA325 - NAS - Serial ATA-600 - RAID 0, 1, JBOD - Gigabit Ethernet NSA325
$199.95


ZyXEL NSA325 - NAS - Serial ATA-600 - RAID 0, 1, JBOD - Gigabit Ethernet NSA325 picture
ZyXEL NSA325 - NAS - Serial ATA-600 - RAID 0, 1, JBOD - Gigabit Ethernet NSA325
$194.99


Sonicwall NSA 3500  Firewall VPN Network Security Appliance - 1RK21-071 101-5002 picture
Sonicwall NSA 3500  Firewall VPN Network Security Appliance - 1RK21-071 101-5002
$75.0


Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 Web Cam, excellent condition picture
Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 Web Cam, excellent condition
$10.99


Dell SonicWall NSA 6600 Network Security Firewall-Working-Transferable picture
Dell SonicWall NSA 6600 Network Security Firewall-Working-Transferable
$1000.0


Lenovo Ideapad Z50-75 USB/Audio/SD Card Reader Board w/ Cable NS-A275 Genuine picture
Lenovo Ideapad Z50-75 USB/Audio/SD Card Reader Board w/ Cable NS-A275 Genuine
$5.99


Sonicwall NSA 2400 Network Security Appliance 1RK25-084 picture
Sonicwall NSA 2400 Network Security Appliance 1RK25-084
$29.93


SONICWALL NSA 250 M APL25-090 Firewall Appliance With Power Adaptor  picture
SONICWALL NSA 250 M APL25-090 Firewall Appliance With Power Adaptor
$100.0