NSA Employee Who Gave Snowden Password Resigns

Image: NSA Employee Who Gave Snowden Password Resigns

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 09:00 AM

By Lisa Barron

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A civilian employee of the National Security Agency has resigned after losing his security clearance for allowing Edward Snowden, the former agency contractor who leaked classified documents about its secret surveillance programs, to use his password, NBC News reports.

The NSA acknowledged the resignation in a memo sent to congressional intelligence and judiciary committees this week outlining the agency's internal investigation aimed at identifying people who may have helped Snowden gain access to the material.

The Feb. 10 memo, signed by Ethan Bauman, the NSA's director of legislative affairs, marked the first time the agency has responded to repeated questions from senior committee members about what the agency was doing to hold its employees accountable for enabling Snowden's security breach.

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

Even though he was not aware of Snowden's intentions, by sharing his personal "public key infrastructure" certificate—a system of highly secure credentials that allow access to sensitive internal computer networks—the employee "failed to comply with security obligations," the memo noted.

As a result, the NSA revoked the employee's security clearance in November and has notified the Justice Department that he recently resigned, according to the memo.

It also revealed that an active duty member of the U.S. military and a contractor have been prohibited from gaining access to NSA facilities after being "implicated" in aiding Snowden.

During a public Google chat on Jan. 23, Snowden denied stealing log-in credentials from colleagues.

"I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers," he said.

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