Edward Snowden stole password from NSA staffer: Report

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo News
Edward Snowden, displayed on television screens, asks a question to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a nationally televised question-and-answer session, in Moscow, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Speaking in a televised call-in show with the nation, Putin harshly criticized the West for trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit and said that people in eastern Ukraine have risen against the authorities in Kiev, who ignored their rights and legitimate demands. Putin also took a video question from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, whom Russia granted asylum last year. Asked by Snowden about Russia's surveillance programs, Putin said that Russian special services also tap on communications in their fight against terrorism, but don't do it on such a massive scale as the U.S. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

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A National Security Agency employee was stripped of his security clearance for unknowingly giving Edward Snowden access to his password, NBC News reports.

According to a Feb. 10 memo sent to congressional intelligence and judiciary committees and obtained by the network, the civilian NSA employee subsequently resigned from the spy agency.

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

The employee, who was not identified in the memo, entered his password onto Snowden’s computer terminal at Snowden's request without knowing the contractor-turned-leaker "intended to unlawfully disclose classified information.”

The memo would appear to contradict recent comments by Snowden denying he used any covert trickery in the May 2013 leak.

"I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers," Snowden wrote during a Jan. 23 live chat on FreeSnowden.is, a fundraising website launched last year in support of his asylum.

The memo also states that "an active duty member of the U.S. military and a contractor have been barred from accessing National Security Agency facilities after they were 'implicated' in actions that may have aided Snowden," according to NBC.

The 30-year-old fugitive fled to Hong Kong before he was granted asylum in Russia.

Snowden says he wants to return to the United States, but he believes he would not be able to get a fair trial because current whistle-blower protection laws do not cover NSA contractors.

"This is especially frustrating," he wrote during the live chat, "because it means there’s no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury."

Meanwhile, a report released this week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concluded the U.S. security clearance process that failed to flag Snowden needs to be reformed, in part, by allowing investigators to use Facebook, Twitter and Google.

"Congress should force [the Office of Personnel Management's] investigative practices into the 21st century by allowing investigators to use the Internet and social media sources in particular for the first time," the report said.

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