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Could Snowden Have Been Stopped In 2009?

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the derog-sounds-like-an-elronism dept.

Government 247

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The NYT reports that when Edward Snowden was working as a CIA technician in Geneva in 2009, his supervisor wrote a derogatory report in his personnel file, noting a distinct change in the young man's behavior and work habits, as well as a troubling suspicion that Snowden was trying to break into classified computer files to which he was not authorized to have access. But the red flags went unheeded and Snowden left the CIA to become a contractor for the NSA so that four years later he could leak thousands of classified documents. In hindsight, officials say, the report by Snowden's supervisor and the agency's suspicions might have been the first serious warnings of the disclosures to come, and the biggest missed opportunity to review Snowden's top-secret clearance or at least put his future work at the NSA under much greater scrutiny. Had Booz Allen or the NSA seen Snowden's CIA file before hiring him, it almost certainly would have affected his employment says Dashiell Bennett. 'The weakness of the system was if derogatory information came in, he could still keep his security clearance and move to another job, and the information wasn't passed on,' says a Republican lawmaker who has been briefed on Snowden's activities. It's difficult to tell what would have happened had NSA supervisors been made aware of the warning the CIA issued Snowden in what is called a 'derog' in federal personnel policy parlance."

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Snowden must be preemptively stopped (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113431)

Warm up the time machine, people, because we're the government, we make the laws, we make the money, and we breed the super soldiers. So go home, learn to live with it, pay your taxes and remember, you didn't hear anything about time machines or super soldiers.

Who cleaned the file up? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#45113433)

Was the file cleaned at the CIA? At some contractor level between the CIA and NSA or later?
The CIA has a long history of Soviet and other "friendly" nations penetrating the totality of its work. The idea that some person was "passed" to another US secure position without comment is generationally telling. Its not the 1980's anymore.
The US staff vetting is only a "bit" broken, privatized and rushed over the past 10 years? Nothing the Russians other nations can work around?
This would point to the NSA and CIA keeping its contractor staff so distant from quality gov databases it becomes a real risk.
The contractors arranged have a political 'clearance' so internally fixed that the CIA, FBI? and NSA contractor staff doing vetting seem unaware of file changes?
Clear the brand, boss, education and the staff are by default all 'good'- the US is now the UK all over again?
Or the CIA and its tame friends in the press are playing long term with limited hangout and the NSA was the tool used.
http://cryptome.org/2013/10/nsa-tor-disinfo.htm [cryptome.org]
Contractor considerations, a CIA set up or a different layer of contractor clearances?
The US is left to ponder rogue contractors running private clearances, rogue agencies or a brilliant grand plan in the making, the NSA out in the cold.

Re:Who cleaned the file up? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113485)

maybe his supervisor was black and got the job out of affirmative action for purposes of diversity and inclusion

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (5, Interesting)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 10 months ago | (#45113437)

This is a classic case of "who watches the watchmen" or Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Apparently, no one. It seems that anyone with top secret at the NSA can do whatever they please with no oversight or discipline. It must be a fun place to work where you can spend you days creeping on your ex-girlfriends [slate.com] , elected officials, and corporate CEOs. Unchecked power is a very bad thing as we move farther and father from the principle of "habeas corpus" and into the land of "it's top secret and no you can't see the evidence, trust us, were a bunch of good, trustworthy folks."

And if you haven't seen "Flying Robots" [youtube.com] , go watch it now. The NSA will want these toys overhead next, if they aren't already there.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 10 months ago | (#45113477)

creeping on your ex-girlfriends, elected officials, and corporate CEOs.

Never mind "creeping". Booz Allen is a profit oriented consulting and services business. They know the value of information. What if they are tapping into the NSA data for commercial gain? Selling NSA data to other businesses . . . ?

Snowden got "caught" because he outed himself. Someone running a rogue business market for NSA data isn't going to go public about it.

It would be high time that the NSA take a look at the businesses that do their work for them.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45113607)

Booz Allen is a profit oriented consulting and services business. They know the value of information. What if they are tapping into the NSA data for commercial gain? Selling NSA data to other businesses . . . ?

If they know the value of information, then they also know what they would lose if they were caught and barred from further federal work.

Wild speculation is probably best vectored toward finding the aliens they are holding in Area 51. Or did you have either proof, or a guilty conscience?

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (4, Interesting)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 10 months ago | (#45113635)

So let me get this straight, if you use government resources to break the law or fail to deliver on large government projects then you will be barred from further federal work? I think all you need to do is rename the company, e.g. "Blackwater" to "Xe" (or whatever they are called) and re-apply, No big deal.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113729)

Academi previously known as Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45113777)

So let me get this straight, if you use government resources to break the law or fail to deliver on large government projects then you will be barred from further federal work? I think all you need to do is rename the company, e.g. "Blackwater" to "Xe" (or whatever they are called) and re-apply, No big deal.

You didn't get it straight. Try this: A company stealing classified documents and selling them as a business strategy would be barred from federal work and prosecuted.

That is a different case than Blackwater, completely different. If you didn't have an axe to grind I'm not sure how you could confuse them given the prior messages.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113903)

Try this: A company stealing classified documents and selling them as a business strategy would be barred from federal work and prosecuted.

I don't think so. Our "transparent" government would never let that info go public. The "offending company" would only be scolded and their lobbyists would be required to go to the back of the line.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113875)

Doesn't that require printing new business cards and letterhead? Not to mention a new website. That stuff gets expensive. /sarcasm

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (1, Flamebait)

thej1nx (763573) | about 10 months ago | (#45113525)

While we are playing what-ifs... could George Bush have been stopped in 2001? I mean if we didn't have him in first place, we quite likely would not have had Snowden later. Root cause analysis cannot be stopped half-way.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113559)

> Root cause analysis cannot be stopped half-way.

You're right. Could George Washington have been stopped?

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113577)

George Washington could easily have been stopped. He was one of the worst generals who was ever trusted with command.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113913)

George Washington: the worst general in the Revolutionary War ... except for all the others.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 10 months ago | (#45114067)

He was a lousy strategist but a great leader. In any event the British generals weren't hitting on much either.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about 10 months ago | (#45114087)

On the other hand, one of the best generals on the Continental side was Major General Benedict Arnold. He pretty much won the Battle of Saratoga and therefore, the contributed considerably to the winning the whole war.

He was so good that he actually has one or two memorials: one at Saratoga and one at West Point. They don't actually have his name on them. Too bad about his later career.

As a tactician, Washington was not one of the great captains of history, in the sense that Napoleon or Hannibal could crush their enemies in battle after battle, but he was a very good Commander-in-Chief in the sense that he was able to hold together a fractious alliance and maintain an army in the field. He also was very much lacking the gigantic ego that the other generals, like Arnold, had. That one feature is a significant reason we have a United States today that is more or less a functioning democracy, as opposed to a string of dictatorships and juntas.

All that said, Washington was probably not going to pull a Cannae on the British, but it isn't like the British weren't trying to win. They certainly tried to stop Washington and failed.

Snowden? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113783)

Well obviously, Snowden watches the watchmen. The FISC court can't see what their up to, Congress never gets to see any complaints (courtesy of Ted Rogers & Diane Feinstein's attempts to conceal the evidence from them), the public don't see because the courts keep it secret.

No the only people who can see what General Alexander is up to are the sysadmins under him, that's why he's trying to automate away their jobs, so they can't squeal at what illegal stuff he's been up to.

So who watches the watchmen? Their subordinates. And who watches their subordinates? Their own conscience.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113837)

That's one way to think of it...another way is that outsourcing doesn't work for these agencies, as HR policies that apply in the corporate world get in the way of tracking...or to put in another way, if you want to watch every move of these guys, you want to infringe on these guys rights, and you want their track record to follow them. Or do you? Wouldn't that tracking harm whistle blowing and government overwatch, if a potentially vengeful supervisor can get you banned from your career?

world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A.S. (3, Interesting)

Max_W (812974) | about 10 months ago | (#45113447)

Snowden demonstrated and proved the reality of the computing and networking. It Is much bigger than CIA, NSA, and even the USA.

Modern computing allows to organize effective mass surveillance. It is not only about the US government. The technology itself is inherently dangerous. It registers ans sees everything, and forgets nothing. The 1984 is hopelessly outdated and over-passed.

Snowden is like Jesus of the new era. He is hated, crucified, persecuted, but the jinn is out of the bottle. We know now.

He did not receive Sakharov's prize, but it had been exactly what Sakharov did, - truth at any cost.

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#45113569)

The US gov cannot undo what is now out and been "quality" reading for so many.
Yes that "effective mass surveillance" and file "change" is going to be the key :)
If its totally wiped at the CIA end 'now' you know its an on going operation.
If the change was logged and the work group who did it is found but gets promoted/contract extended - you know its an on going operation.
Or they find a staff member who was on duty and question them?
Some digital version of the "took a phone call and left her foot on a pedal that may have caused the erasure"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Mary_Woods [wikipedia.org]
Richard Nixon's Last Secret: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.07/nixon_pr.html [wired.com]

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (4, Funny)

hamburger lady (218108) | about 10 months ago | (#45113571)

Snowden is like Jesus of the new era.

what, snowden never existed either? i could have sworn i've seen pictures of the guy and everything.

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113791)

Jesus never existed? What sort of delusion are you suffering from?

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (3, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about 10 months ago | (#45114043)

Jesus never existed? What sort of delusion are you suffering from?

Jesus does my lawn. He does great work. I found him outside Home Depot looking for work.

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45114125)

They're suffering from sitting in their echo chamber too long. Since they refuse to believe Jesus is God, they just keep going and assert that even the human teacher Jesus never existed. It's convenient.

Disbelieving in his actual divinity is one thing, but moving on and assuming that the center of the largest religious movement in history didn't exist is not really going to be a position that I'd be comfortable taking, but you'll find people taking it all the time.

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113851)

Now that is the right question.

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (0)

foniksonik (573572) | about 10 months ago | (#45113965)

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus [wikipedia.org]

Jesus existence is pretty much a fact - everything else about him, not so much. The comparison with Snowden in terms of what we actually know may be apt. It's unlikely that we will ever know all of the facts about Snowden and many details that are filled in later will be questionable.

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45114027)

At least they made a decent, funny movie about Brian...

Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45114183)

Firstly you should see the talk and history of this page as well as reviewing the cites vs your own reference search, it is one where nutty Christians do their persecuted/superiority thing with passion and the rest of us don't really care enough to challenge it year after year. Jesus is likely a composite of at least a few people over around 100 years who were Jewish insurgents against Roman occupation and later genocide and ethnic cleansing combined with the best of of middle eastern and Mediterranean virgin born, sacrificed, and resurrected god pagan myth(Apollo, Baal, Tamuz, Mithras, etc) very sloppily grafted onto the actual non-diety, non-human/divine sacrifice for sins, national righteous king messianic tradition of the Jewish faith. What is humorous is several later prophets of the Hebrew scriptures actually decry the worship of these neighboring nations deities upon which the Christian trinity and Jesus in particular was later based.

Clear priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113449)

#1 Fight rival intelligence agencies
#2 Industrial espionage
#3 Ignore constitution
#4 Support terrorism (if the terrorists vaguely promise to hurt us slightly less than our enemies in the near future) ...
#??? Whatever it is they're officially tasked with

Re:Clear priorities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113461)

#4 Support terrorism (if the terrorists vaguely promise to hurt us slightly less than our friends in the near future) ...

Timeline of Snowden revelations (1)

jbrax (315669) | about 10 months ago | (#45113453)

How many false positive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113455)

How many other contractors have derogatory reports? other

Re:How many false positive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113537)

How many other contractors have derogatory reports? other

*crackle* that's a good question, over

Re:How many false positive (5, Insightful)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 10 months ago | (#45113597)

Who says they're false positives?

As many people have pointed out, the difference between Snowden and everyone who came before him is that Snowden had the decency to send the information to the US people, as opposed to some other government. But apparently he's the traitor.

Other red flags (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113471)

Other red flags in his bio include:

- Claiming to have a master's degree from the University of Liverpool when he only enrolled (and never completed) classes.
- Claiming to have attended classes at Johns Hopkins University when they have no record of him.
- Claiming to have graduated the University of Maryland when they only have records of him having enrolled in an online class, and never completed it.
- Claiming to have served in the Army but being kicked out after breaking both his legs during training. He would have either been placed in a medical holding platoon until he healed, or discharged medically and therefore received a percentage of disability from the VA for life. More likely he was generally discharged under the "failure to adapt" doctrine.

What we see is a person who embellished stores about his own past, who has never been able to complete anything he started or hold down a job for more than a few months, who by nature of living in the DC Metro Area ended up with a clearance and a high-paying job. Okay, he did complete one thing: he got his high school diploma on the second try. The point is, had he grown up in any other area in the country, this guy would be stocking shelves at Wal-Mart and complaining about "the system."

We all know people like this. You would not invite him to dinner a second time, or feel comfortable if he were dating your little sister.

Blame the contracting agency that performed his background check. What likely happened, they had a quota they had to meet and were more interested in the commission than a thorough investigation.

Re:Other red flags (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#45113521)

Blame the political leaders who allowed any contracting agency to perform background checks.
This should have been done like it always was: by the US gov for the US gov. No clearance bulk packs for trusted bosses and any of their new staff.
You look at all public and private databases, subscriptions and other sate/federal/banking.... data.
You drive out and talk to the primary school teachers, high school teachers, university staff, mil staff, past bosses, friends, extended family, family, lovers until the life story holds in the real world along with any records found or presented.
In the past conduct like this at the CIA would have been understood, internal hiring/vetting informed and other gov agencies kept informed.
Thanks to a rushed, privatized, mostly digital system - the USA allowed contractors to pass a person with work habits from one agency to another.

Re:Other red flags (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113591)

Blame the political leaders who allowed any contracting agency to perform background checks.

Actually, I am not as much annoyed that they allowed the contracting agencies to perform background checks on NSA workers as I am that they allowed the contracting agencies to perform background checks on everyone.

Re:Other red flags (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | about 10 months ago | (#45113583)

The point is, had he grown up in any other area in the country, this guy would be stocking shelves at Wal-Mart and complaining about "the system."

What can we say about NSA when such a guy can go in, take many secrets and publish them while successfully escaping wrath of The President?

Re:Other red flags (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113679)

We can say a lot more about the NSA because of the contents of the published documents rather than the events leading to their publication.

I find it disgusting that everybody is still focusing on Snowden rather than the documents. It's almost as though the NSA selected Snowden to bring all the stuff out into the open since they would have gotten shit if they passed all that crap through the official channels supposed to watch over them without having some celebrity distracting from what this is actually about: the NSA establishing a reign of surveillance and terror out of democratic, congressional and presidential oversight and control.

Snowden is a pawn. He's unimportant. The shit he uncovered is important, but nobody can be interested in it.

Re:Other red flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113633)

Yes but Snowden is ridiculously good-looking! No one as incredibly attractive as Snowden could ever be disloyal. Snowden got a high-paying job because he looks like guys who get high-paying jobs. You would beg him to bang your sister.

CIA thought NSA became to powefull (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113479)

CIA thought NSA became to powefull, so they sent them a contractor they didn't trust.

What is really going on? (4, Interesting)

tchdab1 (164848) | about 10 months ago | (#45113493)

I don't know enough about personnel internals at CIA or NSA. With what I do know, I have to view with suspicion a personnel history report that appears months after Snowden began leaking information. He's publicly humiliated the NSA, called them liars and produced some proof that they've crossed the line(s) of acceptable behavior. I would expect these agencies to produce "evidence" that denigrates his position, and I would not at first glance accept it.

Re:What is really going on? (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#45113613)

The information is out, people around the world can match up the files and talk about the release process.
http://cryptome.org/2013/10/nsa-tor-disinfo.htm [cryptome.org]
What can the USA do after the fact?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerzy_Popie%C5%82uszko [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgi_Markov [wikipedia.org]
Now we might be seeing the start of part two of a big NSA/CIA game.

Re:What is really going on? (1, Flamebait)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45113761)

I would expect these agencies to produce "evidence" that denigrates his position, and I would not at first glance accept it.

Do you take Snowden at his word? Snowden to newspaper: I took contractor job to gather evidence [cnn.com]

That means he took the job under false pretenses, he both lied to get the job, and continued lying while he was working. He certainly wouldn't have gotten the job if he had told them he wanted it to steal secrets, would he? Nor would he have been granted the access he was given if he had told them he wanted to steal secrets.

And who was speaking for Snowden in Russia?

Russian attorney Anatoly Kucherena — who also happens to be the head of public council for the Federal Security Service (FSB)* — has announced that Edward Snowden may leave the Moscow airport on Wednesday. -- ...Russian Intelligence Speaks For Edward Snowden [businessinsider.com]

Snowden had his birthday party at the Russian embassy in Hong Kong and made arrangements with them for his trip to Russia. This connection was lied about at multiple levels, and multiple times. Why?

I'm sure he'll enjoy his new homeland [themoscowtimes.com] .

So, I think the answer to your question (What is really going on? ) is pretty clear, but not one you or most people here will accept.

*Federal Security Service (FSB) took the place of the old KGB - Committee for State Security, the Soviet secret police that was responsible for keeping the Soviet Communist Party in power.

Re: What is really going on? (4, Interesting)

Aboroth (1841308) | about 10 months ago | (#45113823)

Sure, because instead of just quietly going to Russia and getting the big payday by handing over all of the secrets, he instead decides to make all of the information much less valuable to his "employer" by telling everyone at once, and at the same time letting everyone in the US government know what he took and how he did it, making further infiltration more difficult in the future. Sounds like the most idiotic spy plan ever, and since you say he did this with Russian backing, that must mean the Russians are idiots. What is more likely is that you are having problems accepting that one man can so deeply affect an all-powerful entity such as the U.S. government, so you invent crazy theories that involve another powerful entity since that is comforting to you.

Re: What is really going on? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 10 months ago | (#45114097)

How do you know that he has revealed all he knows publicly? I'd bet there is a lot of information that only the FSB will get. Stuff that applies only to US military defense and not the illegal spying stuff that made him a celebrity.

Re:What is really going on? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113833)

Do you take Snowden at his word?

Snowden produced evidence of his claims, which were then verified by investigative journalists, and in some cases finally admitted to by the US government itself.

I would take him at his word long before I believed anything produced by an agency or politician in the US government.

Re:What is really going on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113835)

Yeah isn't it such a great shame when the evil russkis help warn the US citizens about the evil US Government and their lackeys? Perhaps you bunch should go return the favour to the russians.

Snowden has leaked important facts that are verifiable. Shills like you trying to distract people from those facts are just disgusting.

Re:What is really going on? (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 10 months ago | (#45113895)

I think you may have read one too many Robert Ludlum novels.

Re:What is really going on? (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45113971)

The facts that I mention are straight from the papers, Russian involvement at various points is clear. The only real question is, was it planned ahead of time, or were the Russians simply nimble enough on their feet to exploit an incredible opportunity when it fell into their lap? Either is possible. For what it is worth, Russian spies are as active as they were during the Cold War.

China and Russia spying at Cold War levels : US spy chief [google.com]
Number of Russian spies in the UK back to Cold War levels, say security services [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:What is really going on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45114069)

That's a good little bitch. Want a treat?

Re:What is really going on? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113955)

There's plenty of reason to suspect you are correct. This [bbc.co.uk] blog at the BBC gives a good idea of how the unintelligent intelligence really is. Mostly the media just hypes them up.

SOP for Federal Government Contractors (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113495)

I worked for a Federal Government Contractor. I administered a number of servers--the one with financial information and one with Classified information. I found another employee trying to break into my servers on a few occasions and reported this security breach to management. The CIO said "Good catch" but did nothing to the employee. (Well the CIO did give a promotion to the offending employee.) As a manager, this person set up a rogue server between Security Audits and continued his attempts to break into my servers on a regular basis. I continued to tell management and added notifications to Cyber-Security. Nothing was ever done about these attempted breaches.

Federal Government Contractors do not report problems to the Federal Department if they can help it. The Feds will investigate and that means a huge disruption of operations, productivity and costs the contractor a lot of money. So, problem people are left unreported, unchallenged, and on-the-payroll. It sucks to work for a Federal Government Contractor when you/your job are experiencing internal threats but it is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Good Thing He Wasn't Stopped (5, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about 10 months ago | (#45113497)

Snowden is a hero. It's a damn good thing he wasn't stopped. Else, the American people would have had no chance to stop the fascism that is enacting a slow-mo coup d'etat of our democracy. Time will tell if we can do anything about it now anyway, but at least we have the knowledge if not yet the means.

We will know victory when the Jamie Dimons and Lloyd Blankfeins of the world and those on Capitol Hill and K Street who enable them are swinging from the trees that line the National Mall.

Re:Good Thing He Wasn't Stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113565)

What did he expose that we didn't already suspect?

Re:Good Thing He Wasn't Stopped (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113585)

What did he expose that we didn't already suspect?

He made it easier to present this information to the naive, trusting masses who refuse to think for themselves and that's why they think It Can't Happen Here. Like it or not, they are the majority, they have the numbers, they have the votes and the political pressure, and they need these matters spelled out for them. They will not connect such dots on their own. It's the single biggest threat to our representative republic that there is because it was built on the concept of an informed and savvy public. Snowden's work addresses that threat, that ignorance and general unwillingness to touch this topic.

There's hope for us yet.

Re: Good Thing He Wasn't Stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113605)

Suspecting is different than knowing. It is also worse than I thought, especially the NSA purposely weakening commercial encryption and putting all of us at risk.

Re:Good Thing He Wasn't Stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113615)

Suspicion isn't the same thing as evidence. Without that evidence, it's our word against theirs.

Re:Good Thing He Wasn't Stopped (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113677)

What did he expose that we didn't already suspect?

He exposed that those saying that NSA did all those things weren't crazy tinfoil-hats and that those who said that they were were naive.

Go back to old forum posts, read the discussions. Some people voiced the suspicion, most of them were ridiculed.

Also, regarding the article/summary. It would be interesting to write an article with the headline "Could Martin Luther King Jr. have been stopped 1957?" and see how it would be received.
For some reason some people still thinks that what Snowden did was wrong. In retrospect it's pretty clear that he did exactly what needed to be done.
There were several NSA workers who did it the "right" way and just reported the injustices upward or decided to quit and keep silent, none of it worked.

Way to spin it! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113503)

Let me recast this: Sometime in 2009, Edward Snowdon, having been a faithful and perhaps unquestioning CIA employee for some time, began to have pangs of conscience and take some preliminary steps toward what he ended up later doing: revealing what was going on at the highest and most secretive levels of government. His "superior" noticed this and recorded it in Snowdon's her personnel file.

  Why does this article – which is cited, of all places, on Slashdot – try so clearly to change the event by relabeling Snowdon a criminal instead of a whistleblower beginning to come to his senses? Answer: to serve the established powers. To rewrite the narrative.

This makes me want to barf because I know so many people will buy into it and, apparently, some of those people are right here on Slashdot. In fact, such a twisting of the narrative has really already succeeded, having been played over and over in the newspapers and on the network news that everybody sets their sights by.

Re:Way to spin it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113557)

This makes me want to barf because I know so many people will buy into it and, apparently, some of those people are right here on Slashdot. In fact, such a twisting of the narrative has really already succeeded, having been played over and over in the newspapers and on the network news that everybody sets their sights by.

In fairness, it was probably pushed through Slashdot as a means of creating controversy and increasing ad revenue. Slashdot is a corporation after all. I think we forget that sometimes, between blatant Slashvertisements. That doesn't mean the story wasn't originally written (not by Slashdot) for the purpose of deliberate framing and therefore disinformation, only that Slashdot's interest in it is probably much more mundane.

Freedom vs Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113505)

Is life free, and who shall wield power to land a fist past my nose?

Captcha: compass

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113507)

By not breaking the law.

Don't care. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113513)

I'm glad they didn't stop him. People went from saying shit about tinfoil when you bring up spying. To actually listening.

This is a good thing. Now we just need to put a stop to it.

Let's hope this security hole is not fixed. (5, Insightful)

ad454 (325846) | about 10 months ago | (#45113517)

The American public, and also the rest of the world, need more whistle-blowers to leak illegal activity and overreach by self-serving secret agencies, that refuse to allow themselves to be subjected to proper and transparent oversight.

No law abiding person has any issues with spying on suspected individuals and organisations with just cause and court order. But most people do not want a dictatoral police-state based wholesale surveillance on everyone, as we have now.

How is what the NSA is doing in the USA now any different than what the former East German secret police use to do, with their secret files kept on ever individual, so that they can use any individual's past as a weapon, in case they get out of line?

Nor do we want to see security, such as encryption, weakened, if it makes the public more vulnerable to attack by bad/evil organisations in general, or makes it harder for honest and lawful people to cooperate for the benefit of society, even if it means letting a few bad people get away. Proper security requires risk-benefit analysis for the whole of society, not just selected groups.

Re:Let's hope this security hole is not fixed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113593)

There was no illegal activity committed here. All the programs that Snowden leaked were authorized and permitted by Congress. They were justified under the laws of the land and the lawmakers all were aware of what was happening.

Please do not call these illegal activities because you would be incorrect.

Re:Let's hope this security hole is not fixed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113625)

John Oliver: Mr. President, no one is saying you broke any laws, we're just saying it's a little bit weird you didn't have to.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-10-2013/good-news--you-re-not-paranoid---nsa-oversight

Re:Let's hope this security hole is not fixed. (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#45113627)

Lawmakers been "aware" and "justified" is not legal. The US Constitution is very clear on any attempts to try the color of law trick with domestic surveillance been "authorized".

Re:Let's hope this security hole is not fixed. (1)

geoskd (321194) | about 10 months ago | (#45113595)

No law abiding person has any issues with spying on suspected individuals and organizations with just cause and court order.

Umm, I do, but my objections stem from the arbitrary and self-serving nature of the law-makers, lawyers and their laws.

Re:Let's hope this security hole is not fixed. (5, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about 10 months ago | (#45113663)

we do have a problem with it, you are very naive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism [wikipedia.org]

your government is mostly comprised of evil and twisted power and money grubbing people in the pockets of large corporations. They are transforming the USA into a corporate fascist police state.

Re:Let's hope this security hole is not fixed. (3, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | about 10 months ago | (#45114061)

your government is mostly comprised of evil and twisted power and money grubbing people

Whew! I am glad they've shut down for the moment!

Can you trust the data (1)

Monoman (8745) | about 10 months ago | (#45113539)

With all of the security "issues" being discovered and other potential issues discussed can anyone say with complete certainty that his file hasn't been altered?

Betteridge. (4, Insightful)

nospam007 (722110) | about 10 months ago | (#45113541)

"Could Snowden Have Been Stopped In 2009?"

No.
Who cares?
We're glad he wasn't.

Re:Betteridge. (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about 10 months ago | (#45114155)

Sure he could have been stopped. All the government would have had to do is stop doing illegal stuff, and Snowden would have had nothing to report.

Once you are in the system... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113547)

...it looks after its own.

On the UK side, note Geoffery Prime of GCHQ - overt paedophile and Russian spy, who passed positive vetting 6 times. Note Michael Bettaney of SIS, prone to singing Nazi drinking songs at all-night booze sessions, then parading drunk down the street shouting "I'm a spy!", and who frequently posted selected highlights from SIS files to the Russian Embassy. While chasing the leaks he was vetted twice and passed with flying colours.

Prime was eventually caught by the local police, while Bettaney was only caught when the Russins became suspicious that this flow of unrequested secret info must be some kind of trap, and started sending it back....

I'm not surprised Snowden could keep his job. I think internal inquiries detect so few traitors that you might as well not undertake them...

Re:Once you are in the system... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#45113641)

It was on file with one very secret obsessed agency and passed to another agency who had a mission to keep secrets. The UK at least has the excuse of internal vetting and needing to keep skilled gov staff. This was a contractor moving between US gov agencies :)

The Real Way to Stop Snowden (5, Insightful)

CBM (51233) | about 10 months ago | (#45113551)

The real way to have stopped Snowden would be for the government to not be a privacy-destroying, dossier-collecting, network-infiltrating, security-inhibiting organization that spies on its own people.

Then Snowden wouldn't have had a reason to leak.

Re:The Real Way to Stop Snowden (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113981)

Ah,h I bet you also blame rape victims for wearing too short skirts and leading their attackers on too.

What a disgusting victim-blaming opinion. You should be ashamed.

Wrote a derogatory report... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 10 months ago | (#45113553)

Derogatory:

Synonyms
belittling, contemptuous, decrying, degrading, demeaning, denigrative, denigratory, deprecatory, depreciative, depreciatory, derisory, derogative, detractive, disdainful, disparaging, pejorative, scornful, slighting

Related Words
aspersing, calumnious, defamatory, insulting, libelous (or libellous), maligning, slandering, slanderous, vilifying; abusive, opprobrious, scurrilous; catty, cruel, despiteful, hateful, malevolent, malicious, malign, malignant, mean, nasty, spiteful, unkind, virulent; critical, denunciative, denunciatory; acrimonious, bitter, envious, jaundiced, jealous, rancorous, resentful; acrid, caustic, scathing, venomous

Funny (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113555)

They are talking about who Snowden got a hold of the information to leak it when the whole problem has nothing to do with HOW he got a hold of it to leak it and everything to do with the fact they were doing stuff so messed up that it HAD to be leaked for the greater good of the nation and it's people.

Quit asking HOW he got a hold of the information as much and start asking WHY they had done acts such as those to begin with more.

No secret files on Snowden's laptops (4, Informative)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 10 months ago | (#45113581)

I can't find an online link, this is from today's Sunday's paper...

NY Daily News, 10/13/2013, Stephen Rex Brown with News Wire Services

The four laptop computers Edward Snowden traveled with while in Hong Kong and Moscow were merely a distraction and contained no top-secret information, according to an ex-CIA official.

Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst-turned-critic of the agency, said that Snowden revealed to him during a six-hour meeting in Russia that the information Snowden swiped from the NSA was actually stored on hard drives and thumb drives.

The data was never turned over to Chinese or Russian authorities Snowden said, according to McGovern.

On Wednesday, Snowden met with McGovern and three orther former U.S. intelligence and law enforcement official who have become critics of the government's surveillance apparatus.

Several American politicians and intelligence officials have expressed concern the NSA materials Snowden, 30, downloaded had fallen into the hands of foreign governments keen to understand clandestine American operations abroad.

Snowden lives in a secret location in Russia and is "well-protected", McGovern said.

Wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113603)

Change "Could Snowden have been stopped" to "Why in hell should Snowden have been stopped"

Choices, Priorities, Morality, and Snowden (5, Insightful)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 10 months ago | (#45113617)

I find it interesting that his efforts go back this far and span another agency. He was aware of things back at the CIA that even then disgusted him so much he was already trying to do what he ultimately accomplished. Most people that upset would have simply quit and walked away from the whole thing, or turned a blind eye. Instead, he dug in deeper and moved to an even more secret agency - it's safe to say he had intent. That took a lot of backbone. Snowden is like a one person spy agency, only working for the people instead of against. This guy manages to earn more respect from me on a weekly basis it seems.

Ames (0)

Optimal Cynic (2886377) | about 10 months ago | (#45113657)

This is so much like the Aldrich Ames fiasco. At least this guy hasn't got agents killed (that we know of).

Re:Ames (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45114031)

Are you a troll or a halfwit? Ames was an unprincipled slimeball who sold his country out for a sum of money. Snowden put himself in considerable trouble to expose unconstitutional practices of the government to the American people.

Some derogations are more equal than others. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113669)

What makes anyone think Snowden wasn't *supposed* to do what he did?

Untrustworthy (2)

mightyQuin (1021045) | about 10 months ago | (#45113705)

The NYT article is based entirely on unnamed sources with obvious bias. Inherently untrustworthy.

burn the witch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113721)

"troubling suspicion that Snowden was trying to break into classified computer files "

I think I can see where this is going. more paranoia , mail probably already went out "If you see anything suspicious , report it to your superior ...lol" . Either they had evidence of trying to break into files or they did not.
If it becomes the case that your career is dependent on some guys 'suspicions', then you get a closed shop and abuse of power all down the chain...lol

Examine the system and make it fit for purpose rather than chasing shadows all over the place..ffs
And before that even, decide what it's purpose is & put the right controls & oversight in.

How hard was that, and I didn't even go to Harvard.

So? Somebody else would have done it (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 10 months ago | (#45113795)

If that guy was successful against Snowden, some other guy would eventually do what Snowden has done. It would only be a matter of time.

i didn't know it was legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113909)

for employers to discuss their current or former employee's records with the public or media. tsk tsk tsk

So, we should share more data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113937)

So the answer to Snowden, who unveiled the profound problems which exist with massive data collection, storing and sharing, is *more* data sharing?

Cat got your tongue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113973)

Yes, let's not discuss the morality of the situation. Just that he could perhaps have been stopped. Food for thought.

Another useless /. article.

I'm one of those... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45114019)

..who think that the CIA wanted him to release the leaks. They saw Snowden coming and they made an obscure plan around him. The CIA and the government want us to take the ultimate leap of fate; them or freedom, truth or lie. Depending on what we choose they will proceed further in their master plan.

What good has the NSA data done? (1)

srichard25 (221590) | about 10 months ago | (#45114055)

The NSA info didn't stop the Boston Bombers, even though the Russians explicitly warned our government to watch them. The NSA info didn't help to realize that Snowden was untrustworthy, even though his supervisor warned the chain of command. Has the NSA info actually done anything more than spy on innocent US citizens?

WHO CARES!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45114071)

WHO CARES?

Perhaps, but ... (5, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 10 months ago | (#45114111)

... I'd also go back and take a look at that CIA supervisor. If something changed in Snowden's conduct, perhaps it was caused by his seeing some goings on at work.

I've seen a few examples of this in my past careers. When a boss starts screwing over the company, his employees typically respond in one of several ways: Some try to get their own piece of the action. Some just say 'Screw it' and let their productivity go to hell. Some quit. And some push back and figure that they'll 'get' something on the SOB. Its possible that Snowden fell into the latter category. He either left on his own, figuring the battle wasn't worth fighting. Or he was pushed out in a manner designed not to trigger any further investigations that could blow back in the boss' face. So he takes his clearance and goes to work as a contractor for the NSA. And he sees that the problems are so widespread, they cross organizational boundaries. In the final analysis, it appears he was proved correct.

The CIA/NSA/FBI and other TLAs appear to have such lax ethics, it would not surprise me at all if quite a few employees in these organizations are choosing the first option: Might as well jump in and grab a piece of the action.

Good thing then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45114129)

that this wasn't picked up.

It's only part of what needs to be asked. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 10 months ago | (#45114187)

In addition to that question, a couple of others need to be asked:
  - How can we mitigate the damage of him and those that aid/abet him?
  - How can they ensure that anyone with the intention of following his path is found and handled(access removed along with full prosecution) before any damage is done?

I'll be glad to see him brought to the US and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, mod points be damned. He caused damage to this country that isn't limited to a bureaucrat, but to all of us that benefit from the safety and freedom preserved from the activities of the NSA.

Pardon if that doesn't go with the groupthink that he's a "hero", but he's done nothing inherently good. The only thing he should be doing in other countries is collecting intelligence on *other* countries to disclose to the appropriate parties who have a demonstrated need to know.

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