The NSA still isn’t exactly sure about what Edward Snowden knows, but one former U.S. intelligence official told NBC News, “The damage, on a scale of 1 to 10, is a 12.” Anonymous officials also said, according to a new report, that Snowden, while working as a system administrator at Booz Allen, “borrowed the identities of users with higher level security clearances to grab sensitive documents,” and that the ongoing forensic investigation “has already identified several instances where Snowden borrowed someone else’s user profile to access documents.”
How Snowden was hired for such a job is currently the topic of much finger-pointing. A review of the company that did Snowden’s last background check found that US Investigations Services LLC “did not present a comprehensive picture of Mr. Snowden,” while the private business blames the federal government.
As our own Kevin Roose wrote when Snowden’s leaks were first published, “it’s not surprising at all that he had access to that information. After all, Snowden was a sysadmin. And like the sysadmins at every Wall Street bank and major corporation, Snowden knew and had access to much more than his title and level of expertise would indicate.”
“Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” an anonymous former 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.”