WaPo: “When He Said He Had Access to Every CIA Station Around the World, He’s Lying”

Exaggerated
US News • Views: 27,226

The latest news on Edward Snowden and the machinery he set into motion: Investigators Looking at How Snowden Gained Access at NSA.

Administration officials said Monday that they are working to confirm that Snowden leaked the documents and build a case against him without relying on his admissions in his video interview with the Guardian. Investigators also need to determine whether anyone else was involved in disclosing the information to reporters, officials said.

FBI agents are interviewing Snowden’s family and associates, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.

Snowden, who said he leaked top-secret documents to expose abuse and not to cause damage to the United States, told the Guardian that he had “full access to the rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all around the world, the locations of every station we have, what their missions are and so forth.”

Officials questioned some of Snowden’s assertions in his interview with the Guardian, saying that several of his claims seemed exaggerated. Among them were assertions that he could order wiretaps on anyone from “a federal judge to even the president.”

“When he said he had access to every CIA station around the world, he’s lying,” said a former senior agency official, who added that information is so closely compartmented that only a handful of top-ranking executives at the agency could access it.

Current and former administration officials were flummoxed by Snowden’s claim that he was authorized to access the orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The order probably would have been accessible to the NSA general counsel’s office, the compliance office that deals with the court, and the operational arm carrying out the collection, former officials said.

One former NSA official said the NSA employs layers of security to scrutinize employees, including keystroke-monitoring systems to identify potential breaches or unwarranted searches of NSA databases.

Joel Brenner, a former NSA inspector general, said any investigation needs to focus on how Snowden “had access to such a startling range of information.”

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