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(note: I actually had come across this story a few days ago, bookmarked it, and then promptly forgot about it until now. If this turns out to be old news to everyone around here let me know in the comments and I'll delete the diary)

That said...

Since Edward Snowden's revelations about the ongoing mass surveillance dragnet conducted by the NSA, the general explanation has been that Snowden deviously and furtively hacked into the highest levels of top secret databases that held the FISC orders allowing the agency carte blanch in collecting all electronic communications.

Truth is, Snowden was granted access to this secret FISC order regarding Verizon while still going through the orientation phase of his hiring process. The remainder of the three months time he worked for Booz Allen/NSA was spent struggling with the idea of going public with the information. Apparently, he decided he would need additional evidence to make his case more credible when he went public. And that's when he delved into the databases on his own.

Kinda makes ya wonder what someone with a more malicious agenda (think clandestine foreign spy) could have easily done with the kind of access Snowden was granted even BEFORE he completed his hiring process.

TPM published the story back on June 18th.

One question many had been asking since Edward Snowden came forward as the source of recently leaked National Security Agency documents was just how someone in Snowden’s position got access to an order issued by the highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The order, requiring a Verizon subsidiary, Verizon Business Network Services, to turn over the metadata about calls made by all its subscribers over a three-month period, was top secret, and had no relevance to Snowden’s job as an IT system’s administrator working for an NSA contractor.

So, apparently, a top secret court order was being used as a common training tool with prospective employees even when it was not necessary to do so.
After a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander told reporters that Snowden had access to the document during an orientation he attended at NSA headquarters in Maryland.

“The FISA warrant was on a web server that he had access to as an analyst coming into the Threat Operations Center,” Alexander said, according to Politico. “It was in a special classified section that as he was getting his training he went to.”

But, have no fear, citizens. NSA Director Keith (the emperor) Alexander assures us Snowden ever had access to the actual communications provided the NSA by Verizon.
“That’s in an exceptionally controlled area,” Snowden said. “You would have to have specific certificates to get into that. I’m not aware that he, Snowden, had any access to that.”
He's not aware? Like he wasn't aware the actual FISC order was available to Snowden and presumably EVERY OTHER TRAINEE HIRED BY THE AGENCY???

If this ain't one freakin' HUGE case of bad karma... I don't know what is.

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