Green Room

Booz Allen Hamilton: By the way, we fired Snowden yesterday

posted at 10:01 am on June 11, 2013 by

Still unclear: whether he’s eligible for COBRA benefits.  Of course, he’d have to return to the US to use them, so … not a big deal either way. Here’s the statement from BAH which clarifies some things and raises other questions:

June 11, 2013

(Updated Information Underlined)
Booz Allen can confirm that Edward Snowden, 29, was an employee of our firm for less than 3 months, assigned to a team in Hawaii. Snowden, who had a salary at the rate of $122,000, was terminated June 10, 2013 for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy. News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm. We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter.

Er, okay.  That seems like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, but thanks for closing the loop.  Contrary to some reports, Snowden wasn’t making $200,000 a year, but he also wasn’t around long enough even to get through a probationary period.  When exactly did he get his clearance to access programs like PRISM?

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He most likely had a clearance from his previous employer. That’s the only way he would be able to get access immediately, or very soon after he got hired. It’s impossible to get a TS in 3 months otherwise.

matd on June 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

When exactly did he get his clearance to access programs like PRISM?

Well, apparently it’s quite easy to get clearance. From the WAPO:

More than 4.2 million people have security clearances for access to classified information, a number that vastly outstrips previous estimates and nearly rivals the population of metropolitan Washington.

Do you really think they took the time to make sure all those millions of people weren’t traitors? I’m reserving judgement on Snowden for now, but obviously they need to rethink their access.

joekenha on June 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM

More than 4.2 million people have security clearances for access to classified information

Which means it is a statistical certainty that at least one of those people could use PRISM metadata to track, say, an ex-wife/gf who doesn’t want him to know where she lives.

WAR ON WOMYN!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111

The Monster on June 11, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Contrary to some reports, Snowden wasn’t making $200,000 a year, but he also wasn’t around long enough even to get through a probationary period.

I thought this claim originated with Snowden. iirc, He made a big deal about how he was making a ton of money and living in paradise in Hawaii but sacrificed all that as a valiant martyr for the greater good. But the fact is, while that’s a very nice income (and would go a very long way in my neck of the woods), it’s all that not much in Hawaii. Now we discover he wasn’t making even that much. This whole story is #SomethingFishy.

Buy Danish on June 11, 2013 at 10:29 AM

it’s all that not much in Hawaii It’s not all that much in Hawaii. Sorry.

Buy Danish on June 11, 2013 at 10:30 AM

They moved into a house in January and moved out in April. I saw an interview with a neighbor yesterday who said the whole house was blacked out -windows etc. The girl friend (Lindsay Mills)had to know something was going on. Unless Snowden claimed to be suffering from migraines and needed total darkness to function./

Buy Danish on June 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Destroy the credibility of the witness. That is the first thing that is done in making sure testimony is called into doubt. Now, we are left with a picture that either Snowdon lied, or BAH lies. So ignore them both for a moment. Now, let’s look at the politicians who have come out and not only confirmed everything he leaked, but are really angry about it too. That’s your truth.

From here on in, ignore everything you hear about Snowdon. Look at the reactions of those whom this system serves.

deadite on June 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM

matd on June 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

He worked for the CIA previously – that’s how he got his clearance. According to him. But ten minutes from now, the cock will have crowed twice and they will have ignored him (no, I’m not making him Jesus – its a denial reference…)

When you have a TS clearance, which I once had before I exited government, its like gold. You can be hired and be put instantly on projects, instead of twiddling your thumbs for a very expensive vacation for several months. THat’s why BHA snapped him up – they don’t pull in someone with his background of no high school for even 122K.

deadite on June 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM

No contract cell phones, encrypted email, used cell phones bought with a prepaid sim card, used laptops gotten dirt cheap, the use of public wifi, encrypted voice mail. And even old fashioned drops. Al Queada, unless they are complete idiots will be using these bits of technology, rendering useless the plans of the NSA. When you actually do have idiots, like the Tsarnov brothers, the system not only can’t catch them, it couldn’t identify them after the fact. This program, and others like it, are tools of the tyrant, or soon to be tyrant. They can be used more easily against the tea party or gun owners than al-queada, since all you have to do is identify the gun owners/tea party and their sympathizers.

Does anyone really think its a coincidence that they were hot on the gun grabbing trail earlier this year? This government, and I include Republicans in DC, want to control the population, and if the constitution is smashed along the way, so be it.

Now, I may be paranoid about some of what I have written here, but tell me why a professional islamacist would not use basic technology that is freely available to avoid the NSA? And if they are, what use is the program except as a control mechanism?

Give me liberty or give me death. Still as true now as then.

deadite on June 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM

I wouldn’t get hung up on the daylight between BAH’s claimed $120K salary and Snowden’s claimed $200K. It’s possible $120K is his base salary and that he collected per diems, signing bonus, performance bonus, profit sharing, etc. on top of that. I’m in the DC area and cleared to a similar level, although with more than double the experience, and a $40K bonus last year took my total compensation north of $200K.

I wonder who in BAH HR made the call to publish his particulars like that? Whether he’s a criminal or not, a normal employee could get fired for that kind of PII disclosure.

DoctorWu on June 11, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Do you really think they took the time to make sure all those millions of people weren’t traitors? I’m reserving judgement on Snowden for now, but obviously they need to rethink their access.

joekenha on June 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Anyone getting a secret clearance goes through a standard background check including a credit report. If no prior criminal record, a secret clearance is almost automatic.
For a TS, the background investigation is much more extensive, including potentially interviewing everyone in your family and all of your neighbors.
For an intelligence related field such as he was in, it might also include a Counter-Intelligence (CI) polygraph. I’ve never had one of those, so I can’t say how intensive it is, but I’ve heard it’s quite intense and personally intrusive.

Regardless of all that, some people with less than sterling morals/ethics get through. We just had a guy where I work fired for stealing trivial food items from the cafeteria – TS clearance, retired AF officer, AF Academy grad – ya just never can tell who’s gonna go bad.

dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 11:51 AM

We just had a guy where I work fired for stealing trivial food items from the cafeteria – TS clearance, retired AF officer, AF Academy grad – ya just never can tell who’s gonna go bad.

dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 11:51 AM

You have to shoot one every now and then just to keep the rest in line. I suspect the chances of actually catching a spy that way is minimal.

pedestrian on June 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM

AF Academy grad

dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Oh man. More tarnish on the silver.

GWB on June 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM

122K was his salary. But Booz-Allen billed the government 200k for his position. Standard.

jake49 on June 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Oh man. More tarnish on the silver.

GWB on June 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Yes – which is why I was a bit PO’d when I found out who the thief was that got fired. Just way too much wrong with the whole situation.

dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 1:19 PM

122K was his salary. But Booz-Allen billed the government 200k for his position. Standard.

jake49 on June 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Were intending any src on that or just sayin?

That’s a 1.64 wrap rate – which is actually low for what I’ve seen of BAH. BAH is (or used to be) known for carrying lots of people on overhead and having really good benefits. In my past of dealing with them, their wrap rate used to be much higher – like in the 2 or 3 range. Budget cuts and competition has obviously made them bring their rates down significantly.

dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 1:25 PM

You have to shoot one every now and then just to keep the rest in line. I suspect the chances of actually catching a spy that way is minimal.

pedestrian on June 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Probably – in this case the cafeteria manager told me they were watching him for nearly a year and apparently have videotape evidence.

dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 1:27 PM

BAH is (or used to be) known for carrying lots of people on overhead and having really good benefits. In my past of dealing with them, their wrap rate used to be much higher – like in the 2 or 3 range. Budget cuts and competition has obviously made them bring their rates down significantly.

I used to work for Booz. They are very expensive, over 3x salary.

matd on June 11, 2013 at 2:25 PM

When exactly did he get his clearance to access programs like PRISM?

usually they get your clearance first. As far as his pay goes, as I wrote on another thread he’s getting over $60 on a W2 per hour, so with perks and OT he could get close to 200k

dogsoldier on June 11, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Theory two, then: Snowden’s a hacking genius who somehow beat NSA’s internal security.

He was a probationary employee with a contractor firm… and they gave him access to what he has.

I’m not sure he’s lying at this point; they clearly gave him more access than he should have had for reasons I can’t imagine. Maybe he did have the access he claimed; given he already can show he had more access than should have been allowed.

I recall my first day as a programmer (July 1996)… they didn’t have my login set up so they gave me root login/password to their main server in my first 5 minutes on the job, as my first job as a programmer.

I’d hoped better for NSA security than that; but from what I can see I’m not sure we got better than that.

gekkobear on June 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Yet Lois Lerner and Co. at the IRS all still have their jobs.

RJL on June 11, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Anyone getting a secret clearance goes through a standard background check including a credit report. If no prior criminal record, a secret clearance is almost automatic.
For a TS, the background investigation is much more extensive, including potentially interviewing everyone in your family and all of your neighbors.
dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Back in the 80′s they interviewed family members, my neighbors and former employers. I no longer have clearance but still get calls when a relative is up for renewal.

Wendya on June 11, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Back in the 80′s they interviewed family members, my neighbors and former employers. I no longer have clearance but still get calls when a relative is up for renewal.

Wendya on June 11, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Yes they do.
I just had my routine 5 year update last year.
And I’ve been interviewed about numerous neighbors and co-workers over the last few years.

dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM

dentarthurdent on June 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM

You lucked out on the timing, then. They just put a moratorium on PRIs for higher clearances unless you fall within a subset of exemptions. It’s a result of the sequester, donchano.

GWB on June 11, 2013 at 5:03 PM