One of the many frightening things about the Edward Snowden revelations is discovering how terrible internal oversight must be at the National Security Agency. Despite half a year of an all-consuming investigation the NSA will probably never know what Snowden took. From the New York Times:
American intelligence and law enforcement investigators have concluded that they may never know the entirety of what the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden extracted from classified government computers before leaving the United States, according to senior government officials.
Investigators remain in the dark about the extent of the data breach partly because the N.S.A. facility in Hawaii where Mr. Snowden worked — unlike other N.S.A. facilities — was not equipped with up-to-date software that allows the spy agency to monitor which corners of its vast computer landscape its employees are navigating at any given time.
Even if we assume the NSA as an entity doesn’t engage in systemic abuse (which no one should assume giving their history and multiple lies) this is still deeply terrifying. If after six month the NSA still can’t figure out everything Snowen did, it must mean their internal auditing is completely inadequate. Thousands of people have incredibly deep access to the NSA’s ever expanding web of surveillance and apparently the NSA has no way of figuring out what these individual have done with their access. That includes information that could be abused in countless ways for personal gain.
It seems literally God only knows how many individuals with access to the NSA might have abused their position for nefarious ends and their actions will never be discovered.
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