Snowden Used Cheap Software to Rob NSA

He pilfered top-secret documents using something like Googlebot
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2014 2:54 PM CST
This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Hong Kong.    (AP Photo/The Guardian)

(Newser) – Well, this is embarrassing: Edward Snowden stole NSA documents using widely available software that "scraped" the agency's computer networks, the New York Times reports. "We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence," a top intelligence official said. The software Snowden used is much like Googlebot, a common "web crawler" that moves from website to website, link to link, copying everything it's programmed to copy. Worse, he kept doing it after agency officials challenged him about his work "a few times."

In fact, his software was similar to the program that Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning used to pilfer documents he turned over to Wikileaks. "Some place had to be last" in getting tighter security, an official said, and the NSA's Hawaii outpost was apparently it. The NSA investigation hasn't resolved whether Snowden happened to work at a poorly protected NSA office, or purposely held jobs at Dell and a tech consulting firm to gain credibility first. Some Congress members have accused him of spying for the Russians, the Guardian reports, but Snowden has denied it.

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