Snowden Stole Secret Data With ... Thumb Drive
LA Times: But it's still not clear why he had access to such sensitive data
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2013 3:39 PM CDT
A supporter holds a picture of Edward Snowden outside the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong Thursday.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

(Newser) Edward Snowden didn't need any high-tech gadgetry to make off with the NSA's surveillance secrets—all it took was a humble thumb drive, reports the Los Angeles Times. Authorities have determined that the former contractor used the portable device to smuggle out his classified data, and they “know how many documents he downloaded and what server he took them from,” a source tells the newspaper.

What they still don't know is why Snowden had access to such high-level documents, including an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and another from President Obama on setting up cybertargets. Why would the NSA allow employees to have thumb drives around classified stuff? Well, the LAT explains that the devices are supposed to be banned, but enforcement sounds a little loosey-goosey. “There are people who need to use a thumb drive and they have special permission," says one former NSA official. "But when you use one, people always look at you funny.”