(Feb. 13) Today's Top Headlines - Snowden swiped password from NSA coworker - Tucson Local Media: Today's Headlines

(Feb. 13) Today's Top Headlines - Snowden swiped password from NSA coworker

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 9:56 am

NBC News:

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.”

"Unbeknownst to the civilian, Mr. Snowden was able to capture the password, allowing him even greater access to classified information.”

While the memo’s account is sketchy, it suggests that, contrary to Snowden’s statements, he used an element of trickery to retrieve his trove of tens of thousands of classified documents: “At Snowden’s request,” the civilian NSA employee, who is not identified by name, entered his password onto Snowden’s computer terminal, the memo states.

“Unbeknownst to the civilian, Mr. Snowden was able to capture the password, allowing him even greater access to classified information,” the memo states.

The memo states that the civilian employee was unaware that Snowden “intended to unlawfully disclose classified information.” Nevertheless, by sharing with Snowden his personal “public key infrastructure” certificate -- a system of highly secure credentials that provided greater access to NSA’s internal computer system -- the employee “failed to comply with security obligations,” the memo states. As a result, the employee’s security clearance was revoked in November and the NSA has notified the Justice Department that he recently resigned. (A public key infrastructure certificate is a highly secure system of password and log-in exchanges designed to protect against unauthorized access to sensitive computer networks.)

The memo does not explain what actions the U.S. military member and the contractor took that caused them to lose their access to NSA facilities.

For the full story, visit: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/exclusive-snowden-swiped-password-nsa-coworker-n29006

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