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



Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 Webcam - Black picture
Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 Webcam - Black
$5.99


ZyXel NSA320 Dual Bay NAS Media Server with both 1.0 TB Hard drives included picture
ZyXel NSA320 Dual Bay NAS Media Server with both 1.0 TB Hard drives included
$200.0


SONICWALL NSA 3500 1RK13-052 101-500073-50 Rev. B Firewall VPN  picture
SONICWALL NSA 3500 1RK13-052 101-500073-50 Rev. B Firewall VPN
$79.99


Lenovo ThinkPad T460s Audio Jack Card Reader Board w/Cable NS-A423 picture
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s Audio Jack Card Reader Board w/Cable NS-A423
$39.94


Lenovo ThinkPad T460s Power Button Board w/Cable NS-A422 picture
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s Power Button Board w/Cable NS-A422
$12.94


2-SonicWall 370-000019-50 NSA SMA Series 1U Rackmount Slide Mech Parts Kit NEW picture
2-SonicWall 370-000019-50 NSA SMA Series 1U Rackmount Slide Mech Parts Kit NEW
$45.0


Kemp NSA1041N7 LM-2000 LoadMaster 2000 4Gb Load Balancer Switching Appliance picture
Kemp NSA1041N7 LM-2000 LoadMaster 2000 4Gb Load Balancer Switching Appliance
$79.98


Genuine Lenovo Yoga 3 14 80JH 14
Genuine Lenovo Yoga 3 14 80JH 14" Audio USB Card Reader Board w/ Cable NS-A383
$8.99