Prior to Snowden, NSA had no clue how many were approved to download top secret info

The National Security Agency did not know how many officials were authorized to download and transfer top secret data from its servers prior to the high-profile leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden, according to a recently declassified government report.

The NSA was also unsuccessful in attempts to meaningfully cut the number of officials with “privileged” access to its most sensitive databases, the Department of Defense’s inspector general determined in the 2016 investigation. The heavily redacted report was obtained by the New York Times through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The agency struggled to achieve the mandated reductions because it had no idea how many employees or contractors were designated data transfer agents or privileged access users prior to the leaks.