In 2009 the CIA sent Edward Snowden home from Geneva amid suspicions that he was trying to break into classified computer files,
Eric Schmidt of The New York Times reports.
A supervisor wrote a derogatory report about Snowden in which he noted distinct changes in the CIA technician’s behaviour and work habits.
Snowden subsequently became a contractor for the National Security Agency, which trained him to hack computers.
Meanwhile the CIA report “slipped through the cracks,” one veteran law enforcement official told the Times.
D.B. Grady, who co-authored the book “Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry” with fellow investigative journalist Marc Ambinder, previously told Business Insider that the intelligence community is vulnerable to leaks because the internal regulation system is largely based on trust.
“There are no internal protections, and if they exist, the people who work for the NSA are very smart,” Grady said. “So if you want to break the system, you can break the system, Snowden proved that.”
Schmidt reports that awareness of the suspicions could have affected Snowden’s assignments as a cyberstrategist with Dell in Japan and later as systems administrator with Booz Allen Hamilton in Hawaii.
“The weakness of the system was if derogatory information came in, he could still keep his security clearance and move to another job, and the information wasn’t passed on,” a Republican lawmaker with knowledge of the situation told the Times.
Snowden, who leaked thousands of classified documents earlier this year, left Hawaii for Hong Kong on May 20 before flying to Russia, where he has been granted asylum.
On Wednesday Snowden appeared with four American whistleblowers to receive an award from a group of retired CIA officers to members of the intelligence community “who exhibit integrity in intelligence.”
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