NSA Planned to Investigate ‘Insider Threats’ Before Snowden Leaked

by Sterling Beard

The Washington Post has published a range of details from the U.S. government’s massive “black budget” devoted to intelligence programs, including a description of counterintelligence plans, which they received from NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

The 178-page budget summary, the Congressional Budget Justification for the National Intelligence Program, details various counterintelligence programs such as the NSA’s plans to investigate over 4,000 possible “insider threats” – situations in which the agency suspected that sensitive information had been compromised by one of its own employees.

The budget declared that the NSA would “initiate a minimum of 4,000 periodic reinvestigations of potential insider compromise of sensitive information” and would scan its systems for “anomalies and alerts.” Ironically, it also promised a “focus . . . on safeguarding classified networks” as well as a “review of high-risk, high-gain applicants and contractors” (that is, the very sort of group that the globe-trotting Edward Snowden belonged to).

The Post notes that as the NSA was beginning a security sweep, Snowden, whom the agency had trained to bypass computer-network security, was copying “thousands of highly classified documents” at a Hawaiian NSA facility.

The paper published only summary tables from the budget out of concern for “sensitive details” that were “pervasive in the documents.”

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