Co-worker provided a digital key to Snowden

2014-02-14 16:04
(Photo: file, AFP)

(Photo: file, AFP)

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Washington - A National Security Agency employee resigned from the agency after admitting to federal investigators that he gave former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden a digital key that allowed him to gain access to classified materials, the NSA has told Congress.

Snowden has previously said he did not steal any passwords.

The unnamed civilian employee who worked with Snowden resigned last month after the government revoked his security clearance, according to a letter that NSA legislative director Ethan L Bauman sent to the House judiciary committee earlier this week.

A military employee and a private contractor also lost their access to NSA data as part of the continuing investigation by the FBI, Bauman said.

Passwords

Bauman's memo provides some of the first details about what authorities said they have learned about how Snowden retrieved so many classified documents before passing them to news organisations.

Top US national security officials have acknowledged they do not know many files Snowden took before he fled the US.

Snowden has denied that he stole computer passwords or tricked some co-workers into giving him their passwords.

The NSA letter suggested Snowden tricked at least one co-worker and copied the employee's password without his knowledge.

Network

The civilian NSA worker told FBI investigators last June that he allowed Snowden to use an encrypted digital key known as a public key infrastructure certificate to gain access to classified information on NSANet, the agency's computer network. The system connects into many of the NSA's classified databanks. The memo said that previously Snowden had been denied access to the network.

After the co-worker entered his secure PKI password, Snowden "was able to capture the password, allowing him even greater access to classified information," Bauman told lawmakers.

He said the civilian NSA employee was not aware that Snowden intended to reveal any classified information. It was not clear from the memo how much classified information Snowden had collected before using the co-worker's password.




- AP

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