CIA Warned About Snowden Trying To Get Into Computers He Wasn't Authorized On Back In 2009 [Update: Or Not]

from the checks-and-balances dept

Update: And, of course, now the NY Times is walking back this story as the CIA has directly denied it:
Asked repeatedly for comment over the past several weeks, most recently on Thursday, the C.I.A. declined. But on Friday, the C.I.A. responded with a statement, the first public acknowledgment that Mr. Snowden had worked for the agency.

“The C.I.A did not file any report on Snowden indicating that it suspected he was trying to break into classified computer files to which he did not have authorized access while he was employed at the C.I.A., nor was he returned home from an overseas assignment because of such concerns,” Todd Ebitz, an agency spokesman, said in the statement.
This contradicts what the NY Times had reported on Friday -- and while it appears someone is not being particularly honest, we'll take back the story as well. Original below -- but crossed out.

The NY Times has an interesting report, claiming that investigators looking back through Ed Snowden's history, discovered that he was written up back in 2009, while working for the CIA, in Geneva, for "trying to break into classified computer files to which he was not authorized to have access." It was for this reason that he was sent home, and moved on to a new job, as a contractor for the NSA. The report notes that the writeup -- known as a "derogatory report" -- was considered somewhat minor, and wasn't shared with folks at the NSA.

What's interesting about this is that it at least suggests that Snowden has been considering all of this for quite a long time. Back in June, he had told Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras that his time in the CIA "disillusioned" him, and a colleague of his in Geneva apparently said recently that Snowden "was already experiencing a crisis of conscience of sorts" when she knew him back then. This seems interesting on a variety of levels, as it further highlights that Snowden didn't take the decision he made to be a whistleblower lightly. Plus, he had a long time to think things through, which supports the claims that Barton Gellman recently made, concerning Snowden's larger view of what he was doing.

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  • identicon
    Wolfy, 11 Oct 2013 @ 6:28pm

    I can't put my finger on it, but something about this story gets my bullshit meter twitching.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2013 @ 3:57am

      Re:

      I wonder if Mr Masnick ever has the though bubble over his head that say "wait, this does not sound right to me ?? " when he is reading these articles ?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wolfy, 11 Oct 2013 @ 6:29pm

    But I'm triple suspicious with regard to anything the Feds say about Mr. Snowden...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2013 @ 7:19pm

    Fishy

    He got caught trying to access stuff he wasn't permitted to any only got sent home?

    They go on to say that only "major rule-based infractions" result in suspension of a clearance. If this isn't one of those, I don't know what is.

    Really, if it's serious enough to suspend somebody from their post over, it surely is serious enough to warrant revoking their clearance too.

    I'm not bashing Snowden, I'm just puzzled about this story and how either the government is completely inept if this is how they operate or they're grasping at straws to cover their asses by trying to make this story more of a failure of the system rather than their own incompetence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 11 Oct 2013 @ 7:37pm

    My first thought was...*cough* Bullshit! *cough*

    Let me just agree and say this has been manufactured by the NSA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 11 Oct 2013 @ 7:38pm

    If this were real it would have been trotted out first thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Toni, 11 Oct 2013 @ 8:34pm

    BS

    This is for Snowden's trial - they're trying to establish a pattern.

    On the other hand - it must be true, since it's CIA who's saying it. Right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 11 Oct 2013 @ 9:12pm

    Updated

    Yeah, the NY Times is now walking back the story -- so everyone calling bullshit on this is probably right. We're retracting it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2013 @ 3:12am

      Re: Updated

      why would you not fully believe

      two senior American officials with direct knowledge of the episode who spoke on the condition of anonymity"

      I mean that's rock solid right !!!!!
      IF you are caught or even suspected of being a security break or risk YOU DONT CONTINUE to work in that field !!!

      Not even a "Senior GOVERMENT official" NO..

      Senior AMERICAN Official, now what could that possibly include ?? The person in charge of the local post office ?

      When you hear "Senior AMERICAN Officials" who want anonymity and you don't start to ask questions Mr Masnick ?

      Why not retract the headline as well Mr Masnick now you know it's no true ?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2013 @ 9:37pm

    Good to see that the CIA that deal specifically with secret information doesn't think that is that important, when can we expect them to declassify those documents containing that minor relevant information?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2013 @ 3:27am

      Re:

      what declassify information that does not exist!!
      except in the minds of "two AMERICAN 'officials' !!!

      They probably do not think it's important, because they KNOW it's not true, does not even make sense !!

      People suspected of security breaches who have a clearance, LOSE THEIR clearance, they do not just go to work for another security company or department.

      But let's not let facts spoil a good story !!!

      Even seen a business card that says for his title "Senior AMERICAN OFFICAL" ?

      Does anyone here know what the term means ???

      "Senior American official" ??

      Yes, the CIA deal with information, REAL information, not just made up shit.

      Again, this is about Snowden, what about the leaks, what of the leaks, are they continuing ? Why no debate about the leaks again ? It seems just more noise to cover any real story that might be 'out there' just a Google search away.

      It heartening to see some other readers being critical and looking at real facts and questioning the truth as proclaimed here on TD.

      It's the risk you take if you are unwilling to write and research anything yourself, you leave that job up to reporters and writers, when you get your information from Google search you would expect to get crap.

      Perhaps you need to find some of your own "Official American Officials" to dig up some tech dirt for you.. instead of being reliant on 'real' news and real reporters.

      You either take the risk of being always wrong, or do your own research, this time you got burnt. But because of your method you can just blame your source on bad reporting, but I would have hoped you were a bit more savvy than that.

      Again, quantity over quality, when you could have both!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2013 @ 12:01am

    Conflicted

    On other hand the story is suspect. However with those bunches of pathological liars isn't a denial as good as a confirmation? Or is it refusing to confirm or deny that is a confirmation?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2013 @ 3:32am

      Re: Conflicted

      it's like the old question.

      q. Mr Masnick when did you stop beating your wife ???

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2013 @ 3:29am

    denial as good as a confirmation

    Hell yes, especially here at TD !!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2013 @ 3:38am

    Journalistic integrity

    It's nice to see TD leaning ever so slightly to some form of Journalistic integrity, even if done so kicking and screaming all the way. At least it's a start. Small steps, but in the right direction.

    Kudos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PopeRatzo (profile), 12 Oct 2013 @ 4:59am

    Funny

    Why do you think the NSA hired Snowden? If you want a program that breaks into people's communication and upskirts their privacy, then you want a hacker.

    I'd be surprised if Edward Snowden had never tried to get into unauthorized computers.

    It doesn't make him any less a hero.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2013 @ 8:18am

    When dealing with the "intelligence" agencies of ANY sovereign state, you can believe exactly nothing of what they say or write. They deal entirely in falsehood and prevarication the purpose of which is convincing all others that blue is red and the world is still flat. Treat them as they deserve - total disregard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Larry, 13 Oct 2013 @ 12:21am

    Shouldn't we be kind of thankful that he did...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    FM Hilton, 13 Oct 2013 @ 3:29am

    Liars all

    Anything to damn the man who uncovered the most important bunch of leaks in quite a while.

    The CIA and the NSA are micromanaging this story so badly...so maybe they should shut up. The NY Times played the patsy once too often for the government, it seems. Their role isn't quite so angelic, is it?

    Let the truth stand for itself: he is a hero, and there's nothing anyone can do to change that, or what he did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wolfy, 14 Oct 2013 @ 2:04am

      Re: Liars all

      Copy that. I'm a former Army Intell. Off. and I am glad Mr. Snowden made the sacrifice of his liberty for our enlightenment. The US Constitution is a document I once swore an oath to uphold. To see it used as a doormat by the very people who are supposed to be uphold and protecting it is very distressing to me.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2013 @ 2:48am

    Mike, you've insisted over and over that it's effectively impossible to erase anything from the net, and people had better get used to it. We're with you on that.

    Yet now you come out and show us that it is possible to delete something in a convincing way -- you simply use the typographical "strikeout" feature that has become become available in most font implementations in the last 10 years or so. You nearly contradict yourself thereby -- but not quite.

    Brilliant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Niall (profile), 14 Oct 2013 @ 3:03am

      Re:

      Excuse me, you're talking bull. He's not 'erasing' anything - not only is the article still there, but any Google-style archiving or text search would show the original article. However, anyone who looks at it will see it was incorrect - which is more than many so-called news organisations will do.

      Besides, making the observation that information that has escaped into the internet wilds cannot be fully recaptured doesn't mean you can't remove stuff yourself - or shouldn't.

      Alternatively, if you were trying to be ironic and/or parody Out of the Blue, then sorry, your argument was too organised, logical and lacking in ad-homs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2013 @ 3:17am

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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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