The CIA Warned About Edward Snowden All the Way Back in 2009

Illustration for article titled The CIA Warned About Edward Snowden All the Way Back in 2009

A confusing truth is becoming increasingly clear: The government had multiple chances to stop Edward Snowden before he leaked a trove of NSA documents earlier this year. But they didn't. We've heard about the warning signs before, but the latest revelation is a real whopper.


The New York Times reports that Snowden got booted from his technician job at the CIA back in 2009 after his supervisor suspected he was trying to break into classified documents. Upon Snowden's departure, the CIA supervisor appended a report explaining as much and also noting some changes in behavior to Snowden's personnel file. This is around the same time that Snowden was spending a lot of time commenting on security issues and complaining about civil surveillance. (Ironically, Snowden—or someone using Snowden's screen name—also wrote that leakers "should be shot.")

That personnel file seems to have been lost in the shuffle, however, when Snowden moved from the CIA to his NSA contractor job. Despite the concerns of his CIA supervisor, Snowden kept his top secret security clearance, and by early 2012, when he was still working as an NSA contractor for Dell Computer, Snowden reportedly started stealing classified documents. Of the report that could've given the NSA a heads up about a potentially dangerous employee, one veteran law enforcement official told the Times, very plainly, "It slipped through the cracks."


But these things happen, don't they? No bureaucracy works perfectly, and there's a lot of information in the intelligence community's personnel file. Furthermore, the system that tracks security clearances for CIA and NSA employees tends to look for "major rule-based infractions, not less serious complaints about personal behavior" says the Times. Without seeing the report, it's hard to tell how direct the supervisor was about the whole trying-to-break-into-classified-documents bit, though, so maybe it just looked like a personality conflict.

No matter what the government did wrong, another very apparent truth is also reinforced by these new details about the 29-year-old leaker: Edward Snowden was determined. In June he said, "Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped." Certainly not by the bumbling government. [NYT]


The whole problem is that post 9/11 surveillance of the populace is seen as part of normal inefficient government, not as an extrajudicial activity. Prior to 9/11 the CIA was as worried about its people leaking to other US GOVERMENT positions as the outside. Telling the FBI or NYPD was just as likely to get you canned as telling foreign govts.

Now that we have "spying on everybody" as law of the land, every agency EXCEPT the CIA and FBI (who the law war written to help) are sloppy and careless with everything about spying. Surveillance isn't cloak and dagger its big business.. And they're all actin like Dotcom kids with toys instead of agents with guns to their heads.

That's why I've been for offing Snowden... They need to instill "operational discipline" like the old days, and quickly. The quickest way to do that is start treating these "analysts" like spies that they are, not office workers. Kill a few off like Snowden and you'll tighten up the ship really quick. Hopefully, it will thin out the ranks that don't want to live like that.... And that's what we want.

So why is this Snowden data stil around. Sure, you don't know what he got... In the old days that meant kill everybody who has a copy or might know how to unlock it. He crossed the line for rogue agents and needs put down. Something rather messy too.

Extra offensive is that the Department heads have left this for the President. A leak like Snowden should NEVER reach that level unless its to cover for some bodies. The NSA head needs to resign by suicide right after he orders and completes an illegal hit in Moscow.. That's how it was done in the old days.