Report: Snowden began downloading documents on NSA programs nearly a year earlier than thought

posted at 8:46 pm on August 15, 2013 by Allahpundit

Is this more damaging to Snowden or to Dell and the NSA, which had 11 more months than thought to sniff out what he was doing and pinch him before he started working at Booz Allen Hamilton to harvest even juicier stuff?

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government’s electronic spying programs while he was working for Dell Inc in April 2012, almost a year earlier than previously reported, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter…

Snowden downloaded information while employed by Dell about eavesdropping programs run by the NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, and left an electronic footprint indicating when he accessed the documents, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

David Frink, a spokesman for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, declined to comment on any aspect of Snowden’s employment with the company, saying Dell’s “customer” – presumably the NSA – had asked Dell not to talk publicly about him…

Some of the material Snowden downloaded in April 2012 while a Dell employee related to NSA collection from fiber-optic cables, including transoceanic cables, of large quantities of internet traffic and other communications, the sources said.

Help me with the timeline here. Unless I (and Joshua Foust) missed something, there was no evidence until now that Snowden had lifted anything from the NSA before he started at Booz Allen in March 2013. Which makes sense: If you’re going to risk a long prison stretch to steal highly classified information and publicize it, you’d want to carefully plan the operation in advance and do it as quickly as possible before getting out of dodge. The longer you’re sitting around with the documents on your hard drive in Hawaii, the greater the chance that the feds will figure out what you’ve done and move in before you get away. That’s what made Snowden’s admission that he took the job at Booz in March for the specific purpose of pilfering documents seem logical. He spent two months there downloading stuff and then was on his way to Hong Kong before the NSA knew what hit them. Get in, get the stuff, get out.

But that’s not what happened. He was lifting stuff about NSA surveillance in April 2012 — it’s unclear if it was from Dell’s servers or the NSA’s — and then, to all appearances, squatted on it for eight months until December, when he finally contacted Glenn Greenwald. Why did he feel safe-ish doing that? Did he tell anyone what he’d done? Did he, say, have any contact with Wikileaks or other foreign actors? Could be he was just wrestling for eight months with his conscience and the prospect of life in prison if he decided to escalate his spying-on-spies activities. In that case, though, I want to know if his surreptitious downloading in April was a one-time thing, i.e. a flourish of curiosity, or if he kept going with it throughout the rest of his time at Dell. The longer his counterspying activities went out, the stranger it is that he felt confident that he could keep at it and the stranger it is that he was never detected.

In other Snowden news, read this grimly amusing story about the people in his orbit — Greenwald, Wikileaks, Snowden’s father — jockeying for position to serve as Snowden’s “real” spokesman. It’s gotten sufficiently nasty that Greenwald was accused by the wife of Lon Snowden’s lawyer of trying to arrange a seven-figure TV interview with Snowden; Greenwald angrily denies it and claims he asked no more than $50,000 to produce the interview at cost. I’m sure this soap opera won’t end badly.


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Did he tell anyone what he’d done?

The Obama administration probably knew, but he just told them he was targeting Tea Party groups so everything was fine.

malclave on August 15, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Likely explanation – he got sniffs at Dell, took the Booz Allen job to get the rest, and then Sir Brave Robined his way to Red China and Soviet Russia.

Steve Eggleston on August 15, 2013 at 8:55 PM

The Obama administration probably knew, but he just told them he was targeting Tea Party groups so everything was fine.

malclave on August 15, 2013 at 8:55 PM

There is your non-medical Comment of the Day™.

Steve Eggleston on August 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Not a surprise. He admitted to being a spy from before he was hired.

Count to 10 on August 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM

But I thought he was a hero?

reddevil on August 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM

If indeed our national security infrastructure is this inept at keeping secrets one would think we’d be inclined to trust them with FEWER secrets, no?

SoRight on August 15, 2013 at 8:58 PM

In other Snowden news, read this grimly amusing story about the people in his orbit — Greenwald, Wikileaks, Snowden’s father — jockeying for position to serve as Snowden’s “real” spokesman. It’s gotten sufficiently nasty that Greenwald was accused by the wife of Lon Snowden’s lawyer of trying to arrange a seven-figure TV interview with Snowden; Greenwald angrily denies it and claims he asked no more than $50,000 to produce the interview at cost. I’m sure this soap opera won’t end badly.

Where was Lon Snowden when Greenwald was assisting his son?

It sure sounds like Father Snowden is the one rushing to cash in.

Resist We Much on August 15, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Hope he has the goods on Obama! Release the Muslim’s records!

Marco on August 15, 2013 at 9:06 PM

If it is that easy to get files from the NSA, how easy is it going to be to get our information out of the new Obamacare hub? That will be a hackers dream. They won’t need to hack into all of the different places to get our information; if they can hack into the new hub, they will be able to get everyone’s records easy-peasy. Because, we already heard how ‘focused’ they are on making sure it is a secure network./

Patriot Vet on August 15, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Why did he feel safe-ish doing that?

Seriously? Sandy Berger can stuff classified documents into his socks, walk out of a restricted area and hide them (I forget where, under a mattress or something?) and Snowden is supposed to think the Eagle Eye is on him or something?

Federal workers are largely less intelligent than an eight grader in Japan. They are largely as motivated as the guy who flips your burgers at Mcdonalds.

That’s why.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2013 at 9:17 PM

So those at the NSA had a year more to catch on and still didn’t. I guess they were too busy monitoring you and me.

VorDaj on August 15, 2013 at 9:18 PM

But I thought he was a hero?

reddevil on August 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM

He pretty much is. When was the last time you put your butt on the line for something you believed in?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2013 at 9:18 PM

But I thought he was a hero?

reddevil on August 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM

In a Realm of Lies, telling the truth is a traitorous act.

VorDaj on August 15, 2013 at 9:21 PM

But I thought he was a hero?

reddevil on August 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM

He pretty much is. When was the last time you put your butt on the line for something you believed in?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2013 at 9:18 PM

By that standard, Charles Manson should be your muse and Hitler your lord and savior.

Snowden’s biggest fans are Alex Jones’ most determined fluffers.

Capitalist Hog on August 15, 2013 at 9:29 PM

There are probably a lot more Edward Snowdens out there.
Most of them are doing it for the money.
How long before America is totally compromised?

redguy on August 15, 2013 at 9:29 PM

How can this be? There are no programs hardwired into these files that prevents unauthorized downloads and copies??

Mimzey on August 15, 2013 at 9:30 PM

So those at the NSA had a year more to catch on and still didn’t. I guess they were too busy monitoring you and me.

VorDaj on August 15, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Well the NSA is a government agency. I don’t put much stock in anyone who works for the government anymore.

redguy on August 15, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Capitalist Hog on August 15, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Yes, murdering people is exactly the same as exposing the US government spying on me.

Are you one of the God freaks, or just one of the extremely stupid ones here?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2013 at 9:31 PM

By that standard, Charles Manson should be your muse and Hitler your lord and savior.

Capitalist Hog on August 15, 2013 at 9:29 PM

The Mad Hatter must be yours.

VorDaj on August 15, 2013 at 9:32 PM

curiouser and curiouser ….

I think it is possible that Snowden has had help from within the NSA infrastructure, from Patriots who are loyal to The Constitution rather than this rogue Tyranny we call the CORRUPT OBAMA REGIME

Snowden has a dead man’s switch set up, which I doubt he could organise alone (but he DEFINITELY NEEDS … I’m sure The Phoney/Val Jarret and Putey Pute, would like Snowden’s car to behave in a very strange way, like Hastings’ car did a short while back… btw, Hastings was reportedly investigating John Brennan when his car became strangely destructive)

Snowden has said that more leaks are pending, and that he was authorised to evesdrop on ANYBODY up to and including the POTUS …. hmmmm …

NSA Leaker: I Had Authority ‘To Wiretap Anyone’ http://bit.ly/18Z5kay

and now we know that he was downloading content back in April 2012 …. that news might send some Corruptocrat sphincter-pinging into overdrive **__**

This background article came from Snowden’s twitter feed:

NSA Bosses Mantra: Who Cares What The Law Says, ‘Collect It All’ | Techdirt http://j.mp/15zwQbP

exodus2011 on August 15, 2013 at 9:34 PM

It is due to utter incompetence in America’s intelligence apparatus that Snowden isn’t some unknown in an American jail. I blame the incompetence of the Obama administration.

thuja on August 15, 2013 at 9:53 PM

He pretty much is. When was the last time you put your butt on the line for something you believed in?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2013 at 9:18 PM

I’d be willing to put in on the line to put a bullet in his traitorous scull. Any questions chief?

reddevil on August 15, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Le Oops!!

More Juiceys:
=============

Audit: NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times each year since 2008 – @washingtonpost

48 mins ago from http://www.washingtonpost.com by editor
======================================================

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds

By Barton Gellman, Thursday, August 15, 8:48 PM E-mail the writer

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by law and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.
(More……………….)
==========================

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-broke-privacy-rules-thousands-of-times-per-year-audit-finds/2013/08/15/3310e554-05ca-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html

canopfor on August 15, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Just in the Headlines portion:

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds

In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff.

20…202, whatever it takes.

Maybe if they included ALL of their operations, maybe we would understand the full scope of the ‘lapse’ in judgment.

Three government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the number would be substantially higher if it included other NSA operating units and regional collection centers.

What’s going on at these other sites, anyway? I guess they don’t have ANY oversight, not even BS ‘quality assurance’, which should be fired for non-performance.

Patriot Vet on August 15, 2013 at 9:59 PM

There may be some perjury charges in the near future for Alexander. I wonder how many more shoes are going to drop over this!

One of the documents sheds new light on a statement by NSA Director Keith B. Alexander last year that “we don’t hold data on U.S. citizens.”

Some Obama administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have defended Alexander with assertions that the agency’s internal definition of “data” does not cover “metadata” such as the trillions of American call records that the NSA is now known to have collected and stored since 2006. Those records include the telephone numbers of the parties and the times and durations of conversations, among other details, but not their content or the names of callers.

The NSA’s authoritative definition of data includes those call records. “Signals Intelligence Management Directive 421,” which is quoted in secret oversight and auditing guidelines, states that “raw SIGINT data . . . includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and/or unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice, and some forms of computer-generated data, such as call event records and other Digital Network Intelligence (DNI) metadata as well as DNI message text.”

Patriot Vet on August 15, 2013 at 10:07 PM

I’m now officially sick of Snowden & his story, and I have less than no care whether he lives, thrives or survives.

Sacramento on August 15, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Hope he has the goods on Obama! Release the Muslim’s records!

Marco on August 15, 2013 at 9:06 PM

That, supposedly, would be the muslim brotherhood’s baliwick.

One of the higher-ups has said that he’s got the ‘go-to-prison goods’ on lil barry – and the info is being held by a number of people outside of prison…as insurance and his ticket out of jail.

Solaratov on August 15, 2013 at 10:14 PM

NSA operating units and regional collection centers.

What’s going on at these other sites, anyway? I guess they don’t have ANY oversight, not even BS ‘quality assurance’, which should be fired for non-performance.

Patriot Vet on August 15, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Patriot Vet:

OutStanding work,we both hit at the same time,…(9:59),
I stand,and Salute ye,———————–:0

canopfor on August 15, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Are you one of the God freaks, or just one of the extremely stupid ones here?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Hogbreath is one of the more stupid ones.

He doesn’t care, actually, but he just loves to take what he considers to be jabs at Conservatives. But he’s just a typical leftist troll. Nothing new.

One can safely ignore hogbreath and be assured of never missing anything intelligent or entertaining.

Solaratov on August 15, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Yes, murdering people is exactly the same as exposing the US government spying on me.

Are you one of the God freaks, or just one of the extremely stupid ones here?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 15, 2013 at 9:31 PM

I’m just not one of the un-American buffoons who is too prideful to admit that he backed a traitor. You and madison conpervative are in good company with Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell.

Capitalist Hog on August 15, 2013 at 10:50 PM

Gotta say… I fear the government much more than terrorists these days. I believe nothing the government says about anything. Most media either. I actually wish more people would come forward. I think the term treason should be used to describe this government for betraying the people!

We the people are being spied on by a few elites, why isn’t that treason? For and by the people? Hardly. The government are all traitors.

and the dream is dead.

petunia on August 15, 2013 at 11:39 PM

The great thing about government is not only that it is dangerous, it’s outrageously incompetent.

John the Libertarian on August 16, 2013 at 12:19 AM

Look, the reality is Snowden is an enemy agent, period. I think, he thought that doing this would expose the ill legal gathering of information that this government was doing. But by not using the various channels, provided by the United States for whistle blowers he crossed a very clear line. His actions were meant to do harm to both the United States and its people. Crosspatch and NavyMustang were right a few days ago, especially about the context. But what is missing is the larger picture. What we are dealing with is the lack of oversight by Congress. No, it’s worse than that. Congress, the eight leaders who have access (in some cases total) have run away from doing their jobs. This is not about politics, as played in Washington DC. This is about making sure the President of the United States does his job as Commander in Chief. Lack of oversight, no oversight, running away when hard questions are asked. The leaders of both parties, fleeing from sight into the night. Like the current President, they like the power, but dodge responsibly at every opportunity. The good news (hey, there is good news) is the rank and file of both parties have had enough. What happened last week in the House is just an opening preview. There is no question that the current admiration has abused the use of data for its own interest. 2014 is going to be very………exciting.

flackcatcher on August 16, 2013 at 2:36 AM

I cannot believe anyone sees Snowden as anything but a hero. He has essentially given up his life to inform us that our government is committing gross unconstitutional acts against us. Our reaction is one big yawn. We’ve become a pathetic people. We’re even too pathetic to recognize a hero when we see one. The enemy isn’t Snowden — the enemy is our own government.

Lizzy on August 16, 2013 at 7:13 AM

If Snowden releases the true info on any of these items:

BHO birth cert
Osama’s death
Seal Team 6 ambush
BJ Clinton+Chinese $$
Ron Brown &/or Vince Foster real autopsy
GW Bush + 911
WTC Bldg 7 demolition
TWA Flt 800

He will be a hero to most Americans!

el Vaquero on August 16, 2013 at 7:36 AM

If Snowden releases the true info on any of these items:

BHO birth cert
Osama’s death
Seal Team 6 ambush
BJ Clinton+Chinese $$
Ron Brown &/or Vince Foster real autopsy
GW Bush + 911
WTC Bldg 7 demolition
TWA Flt 800

He will be a hero to most Americans!

el Vaquero on August 16, 2013 at 7:36 AM

Kinda says it all, doesn’t it?

thebrokenrattle on August 16, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Lizzy on August 16, 2013 at 7:13 AM

Many people want and support and all powerful tyrannical government and want that. Thus he is the enemy and a traitor. Not to the people or the Constitution, but to the government.

astonerii on August 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Kinda says it all, doesn’t it?

thebrokenrattle on August 16, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Heh.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Snowden is a young and courageous American …a whistleblower who is loyal to The Constitution FIRST rather than the currently CORRUPT Govt

He selected the documents to leak very carefully, so that only the CORRUPTOCRATS would be damaged, and not people put at risk, or national security compromised

very clever indeed

If the Bushie NEOCONS R guilty of also conducting ILLEGAL SPYING on Americans via NSA before Obama ramped it up ON STEROIDS they must ALL BE EXPOSED, and dealt with by The Law

Stay with Snowden America! …the one who has exposed the TRAMPLING of your 4th Amendment RIGHTS!

#BeClingers ———> #AmericaRISING

exodus2011 on August 16, 2013 at 6:07 PM