A civilian NSA employee recently resigned after being stripped of his security clearance for allowing former agency contractor Edward Snowden to use his personal log-in credentials to access classified information, according to an agency memo obtained by NBC News.
In addition, an active duty member of the U.S. military and a contractor have been barred from accessing National Security Agency facilities after they were “implicated” in actions that may have aided Snowden, the memo states. Their status is now being reviewed by their employers, the memo says.
The Feb. 10 memo, sent to congressional intelligence and judiciary committees this week, provides the first official account of a sweeping NSA internal inquiry aimed at identifying intelligence officials and contractors who may been responsible for one of the biggest security breaches in U.S. history. The memo is unclassified but labeled “for official use only.”
Reuters reporters Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel reported in November that Snowden used login credential and passwords provided “unwittingly” by colleagues at the Hawaii spy base. The Reuters report said Snowden “may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers” to give him their passwords. But the NSA never publicly commented on that report and Snowden appeared to deny it during a public Google chat on Jan. 23.
“Was the privacy of your co-workers considered while you were stealing their log-in and password information?” Snowden was asked during the chat.
“With all due respect to Mark Hosenball, the Reuters report that put this out there was simply wrong,” Snowden replied. “I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers.”
In response to a request for comment, Jesselyn Radack, a legal adviser to Snowden in the U.S., said, “Edward Snowden stands by his denial on Jan. 23. NSA has a documented history of scapegoating innocent employees for its own failures, … manufacturing evidence against them and misleading Congress.”
To NSA ‘civilian’ accused of security lapses: There’s more to the story. You’ll know how to find me. http://t.co/65JDHu4Ayu
— Barton Gellman (@bartongellman) February 19, 2014
There’s no reason to be the slightest bit skeptical about a memo prepared by the NSA about Snowden & intended for public release #USMedia
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 13, 2014
Leaked NSA memo: fueling the perception Snowden did not work alone & is no whistleblower http://t.co/l5sW4CNiU1
— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) February 13, 2014
— Jesselyn Radack (@JesselynRadack) February 14, 2014