The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Holy Freaking Crap! How Did NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Get Security Clearance?

Posted on | June 10, 2013 | 86 Comments

The phrase “whistleblower” would imply the disclosure of wrongdoing and — sorry, Senator Paul — I don’t see any crime at NSA, beyond the negligence that put a high-school dropout in a position to decide what secrets the U.S. government is permitted to keep:

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement saying that authorities are “reviewing the damage” to U.S. security by Snowden’s illegal disclosures: “Any person who has a security clearance knows that he or she has an obligation to protect classified information and abide by the law.”
Several former intelligence officials said details about Snowden’s career raised questions about how he obtained security clearance.
Snowden told the Guardian he is a North Carolina native who did not graduate from high school, but earned a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) after his family moved to Maryland.  Snowden said he studied computers at a community college and enlisted in the Army in 2003 under the 18X program for recruits seeking to join the elite Special Forces, but was discharged after breaking both his legs in a training accident. He said his Army experience disillusioned him about the Iraq war because “most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone.” After leaving the Army, he was hired as a security guard at an NSA facility in Maryland, Snowden said, then worked as an information technology specialist for the CIA, which in 2007 stationed him in Switzerland under diplomatic cover. ”Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,”Snowden told the Guardian. “I realized that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”
One former U.S. intelligence official told the Washington Post that Snowden’s clearance may have been fast-tracked because of the government’s effort to ramp up its computer counter-terrorism programs after the devastating attacks of Sept. 11, 2001:  “Like a lot of things after 9/11, they just went on a hiring binge, and in the technical arena young, smart nerds were in high demand.” Another official, formerly with the CIA, told the Post it was extremely unusual for the agency to employ people with Snowden’s background: “I just have never heard of anyone being hired with so little academic credentials.”

Read the rest at ViralRead. Perhaps my colleague, the erstwhile Admiral of the Afghan Seas, will have something to say this evening, when he gets home from The Job He Can’t Talk About.



86 Responses to “Holy Freaking Crap! How Did NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Get Security Clearance?”

  1. bet0001970
    June 10th, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

    It’s the miracle cure!!!!

  2. K-Bob
    June 10th, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

    I want to know why someone who decides to “go all patriotic” would seek out one of the worst Obama sycophants to unburden himself.

  3. bet0001970
    June 10th, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

    The 25 years threat…ahh, good times!

  4. AGoyAndHisBlog
    June 10th, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

    Well, I’m not trying to be argumentative – unless you’re part of the intelligence community at the moment, we’re having a purely speculative discussion here – but how can anyone possibly know what Snowden would or would not have had access to, given the scant details of his job history made public so far, and exactly ZERO knowledge regarding how sensitive this PPT was considered?

    Personally, I don’t YET (emph.: YET) find anything whatsoever about his story strange in the slightest.

    The government’s story, OTOH, I find utterly non-believable and in direct contradiction of the claims of the companies reported to be involved. And it’s not clear to me why people aren’t far more interested in NSA’s overreach than in picking apart the few details on Snowden reported by the Guardian so far. But that’s just me.

  5. AGoyAndHisBlog
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

    98G/04B here as well (German), among other stuff. It was… interesting, no? 😉

  6. bet0001970
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

    Oh…don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe a single word coming out any agency official about this program at all. I’ve already picked apart their stories and they lying their asses off. You and I both know the law on this.

    But I have to ask questions of this guy too (it’s just my nature). And you’re right about the reporting. It’s possible that the reporters have misquoted him or screwed up somewhere or left stuff out. They’re idiots.

    What do you think should happen to him? China…not his best play.

  7. bet0001970
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

    Everyone’s a golfer. German? You realize you’re dating yourself.

  8. AGoyAndHisBlog
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

    Given that this is probably one of, if not the biggest U.S. security breaches in living memory, I’d say everyone’s wise to be skeptical of everything at this point – including whether or not Snowden is the real whistleblower, whether or not he is in fact in HK, and everything else about what’s come out so far.

    Without knowing a lot more about what’s really going on, it’s hard for me to form an opinion on what should happen to him. If his story checks out, he may be a Patriot with Brass Balls the size of New Jersey, but he’s still also a felon, and that would need to be resolved, either by pardon in light of the abuse he’s exposed, or legal proceedings.

    The cynic in me says that, given the lack of transparency and the nonexistence of accountability in this administration, we’ll never actually know the truth.

  9. AGoyAndHisBlog
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

    I thought mentioning ASA already did that. 😉

    Actually, as mentioned elsewhere, by the time I was finally deployed, I’d had training as 05H, 98C and 98G/04B. I got to see lots of the U.S. (including beautiful Monterey, CA) & ‘learn’ a language I already knew.

  10. Pablo
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

    How many from this shop are locked up right now, I wonder.

    Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans

  11. bet0001970
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:17 pm


    I don’t believe you just said that. I actually thought about that too. That it might not be him. And that he might not be in HK. That seemed rather stupid. Especially right now.

  12. bet0001970
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

    CTI…but it didn’t stick. Better analyst than I ever was a “golfer”. I guess that’s why I question everything.

  13. AGoyAndHisBlog
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

    Well, to my mind, the beauty is that no one knows anything for sure other than the fedgov has officially confirmed the existence of the program, by way of claiming it’s “legal”, etc.

  14. bet0001970
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

    BTW, I think Hanssen still has him beat. But that’s me.

    Did you know that on his Wiki page they still use his FBI profile picture. It’s kind of creepy.

  15. bet0001970
    June 10th, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

    Technically, we’re not supposed to be collecting on Great Britain. Boy, I bet they’re pissed.

  16. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 10th, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    If you ever served in the Marines or other branches of the military you would know that no one is allowed an opinion.

    But never say never. Now I will say this, in the very rare event that some dangerous NCO or officer orders you to go kill women and children, by all means that is an order I would support questioning (better to be wrong and punished than follow that order if it is improperly given)(I am thinking of a Mai Lai sort of situation). Other than that, you better think long and hard going down that road.

  17. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 10th, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

    I agree most Japanese internment was wrong. And if you disobeyed that order you would have undoubtedly faced court martial or being convicted in civilian courts. And the Supreme Court held it was constitutional at the time.

    But if you wished to engage in non-violent civil disobedience to make a point, I would respect that and you would have been vindicated in the end. But it would have been unpleasant at the time.

  18. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 10th, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

    Good point, but not the first time an author of a bill finds it is interpreted way differently than he originally intended. Welcome to Washington, D.C.

    Unfortunately, however it is ultimately interpreted, the Patriot Act does give these abusers some cover (I am not arguing it should, but it does).

  19. jordan swain
    June 10th, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

    who do you trust with your internet history Richard Helms or Lois Lerner?

  20. jordan swain
    June 10th, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

    Who broke into Daniel Ellensberg’s psychiatrist office. Do you trust them with your medical records.

  21. SDN
    June 10th, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

    Then you are in favor of overturning the Nuremberg verdicts. Because they were convicted not only for atrocities but for obeying Hitler’s order to go to war.

  22. bet0001970
    June 11th, 2013 @ 10:17 am

    They held internment was Constitutional, but that holding people without due process was not. So clearly they didn’t find that Korematsu was “totally” Constitutional, did they? Because of the race thing. And the due process thing. Damn those pesky Amendments.

  23. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 11th, 2013 @ 10:19 am

    How long did it take those Japanese detainees to get an apology from the Federal Government? Did anyone get even charged with detaining them?

  24. bet0001970
    June 11th, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    They did get apologies and reparations over many years. Although, they were a pittance compared to the land and property that was taken from them.

  25. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 11th, 2013 @ 12:02 pm

    They could have theoretically impeached FDR, but given that probably 99% of the country agreed with internment at the time, it was pretty unlikely.

    And what little apologies and reparations they got came very late (I think the apology came during Clinton’s presidency).

  26. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 11th, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

    It was not the Bill of Rights that got Japanese Americans out of internment, it was Hiroshima and the end of the war.

  27. bet0001970
    June 11th, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

    Korematsu Ruling December 18 1944
    Internment Order Recinded January 2 1945
    Bombing of Hiroshima August 6 1945
    Bombing of Nagasaki August 9 1945
    Japanese Surrender September 2 1945

    History…it’s a bitch.

  28. bet0001970
    June 11th, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

    It was Reagan’s administration. And reparations began in the 1940’s. More came during Reagan’s administration.

  29. A Snowden Job And A Much More Important Issue | The Camp Of The Saints
    June 11th, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

    […] McCain has offered his takes here and here and […]

  30. Hollywood Script: Hipster Geek With Hot Girlfriend Fights ‘Omniscient’ Government : The Other McCain
    June 11th, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

    […] June 10: Holy Freaking Crap! How Did NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Get Security Clearance? […]

  31. jew
    June 12th, 2013 @ 3:33 am

    im sry but robert mccain looks like hitler and also an idiot

  32. They're ba-ack! | Conservative Heritage Times
    June 13th, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    […] squad, hanging, and torture, with the only thing to be debated is the order of those punishments. Says he: “I don’t see any crime at NSA, beyond the negligence that put a high-school dropout in a […]

  33. Gene Willard
    June 14th, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    Snowden should never have had access to the classified special intel info he had. His security clearance was fast tracked but he didn’t have a need to know a lot of what he was later revealing. He most likely only needed a Secret clearance.

  34. Fast Ball
    June 15th, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

    The U.S. Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and it trumps any law that violates it. The NSA blatantly violated the U.S. Constitution under the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights. The “probable cause” requirement in the 4th is just as important the “right to keep and bear arms” in the 2nd. Hence all laws that are passes to ‘infringe” the right to firearms, are also null and void by the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution.
    Hypocrisy is ripe on both the right and the left. Wake up!

  35. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 15th, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

    Okay. I did not realize the reversal internment order was earlier. I would hardly call history a bitch. What was a bitch was being interned. By FDR, a Democrat.

  36. Collectivism on the Right
    June 21st, 2013 @ 1:54 am

    […] get their grubby little hands on. Innocent? Well, bully for you. How dare anyone, let alone a lowly "high school dropout," attempt to "decide what secrets the U.S. government is permitted to […]