Snowden's CIA career taught him that going through channels achieved nothing



I wonder if the CIA has a ‘burnout channel’ of Good Red-Blooded Americans Who Signed Up To Serve Their Country and then realized that, perhaps, that isn’t what we do here. Sort of the way Teach For America chews up and spits out a nontrivial percentage of its people by dumping would be do gooders into real pedagogical challenges?


Freaking clueless middle-management drones; it’s the same everywhere. How dare you display skill or initiative; why, you’ll make me look like I’m not doing my job. Ten demerits!

Douglas Adams had the right idea; put 'em all on a spacecraft, and send 'em on ahead to another solar system to pave the way for the rest of us. Yeah, that’s the ticket.


“There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents,”

Unless they have the Internet, that is. :smile:


Not just middle management. Remember how Pete Rose got his nickname? As a rookie back in '62, he was playing his heart out in a spring training game against the Yankees, and Mickey Mantle mockingly said something along the lines of: “Hey, watch out for Charlie Hustle over there, he’s making us all look bad”.


And just like that, the biggest intelligence scandal in decades was the result of office politics and petty revenge. There’s something poetically american about that, I think.


This is true of any large company though. You want to change Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Amazon… you sure as hell won’t do that from the inside. Go start a company that competes with them, and suddenly you have their full attention, and things start changing.

Which is conceptually kinda what Snowden did.


Little Bobby Tables, we call him.


i had been wondering if the flag on snowden’s cia file was misinformation. not sure what this means.

have to be honest? not sure i believe much that has been reported about snowden himself. do i believe that there are so many problems with the federal government that news about those abuses is necessary?

he washes out of basic training. happens, but he broke both legs? maybe.
‘edward snowden’ leaves the cia to work for a private company. he then raids the information of that company’s nsa division. he then leaves hawaii. he leaves his dancer/gymnast girlfriend. he leaves hawaii. he avoids immediate attention with a medical excuse. reaches hong kong, then is untraceable until he surfaces in russia.



I feel this is a classic “Who polices the police” situation. And I will give an example from the world of PCI compliance to explain why:

In the public sector, companies that process credit cards, and sensitive customer information are subject to audits. If infractions are found, the company may be fined. So fixing their “system” is achieved by means of financial punitive measures, and in some cases, completely taking away the company’s ability to process transactions (effectively shutting down the business).

The problem with the CIA, FBI and NSA is that nobody is auditing them. That security vulnerability that Snowden found should have been reported, and should have been patched. In theory it could have been used for much more nefarious goals if Snowden was a double agent working for an “enemy”.

Unless!.. this is much bigger than we think, and that security hole was left unpatched on purpose. I am saying this because his boss could have used that report from Snowden to win comps with his superiors. So I wouldn’t be surprised if that hole was designed to be left unpatched. But saying this is my official opinion, would put me in the “conspiracy theorists” loony camp side of things.


yes, it’s called the CIA and they get to work alongside the sociapaths!

Tall poppy syndrome.



If nothing else, this story with the CIA ‘black mark’ on Mr. Snowden’s personnel review strikes me as eminently believable due to the scenario he described: A (relatively) junior employee discovering a flaw in a company’s line of business app being retaliated against with a career-limiting memo in his HR file sounds like a typical corporate bureacratic CYA response.

The scary-sad part of this tale is that if his superiors had only listened to him, it seems unlikely his transfer to the NSA and subsequent distribution of documents would never have happened, but he would have likely gone on to find (and get patched) who knows how many vulnerabilities in the software used daily at the CIA that are still open to exploitation today.


I don’t know what to think about this. If I acted this way at a large company, I think the odds are they would have just fired me. He got told off by a higher up, got permission from a lower level manager, did the testing, and the higher up was irritated. Happens all the time. Mom said no, so you go ask Dad? Guess what, Mom’s going to be pissed when she finds out.

Pointless management scum; deep down they realise there is no justification for their existence, so when someone who isn’t a fellow oxygen thief does anything to confirm that fact, they’re seized by existential panic.

Such considerations as one’s job description, let alone safeguarding the nation’s security, are trivial details to be ignored next to the insufferable agony of a bruised ego.

I know a good wall to put these useless fuckstains up against come the revolution, if anybody’s interested in lending a hand…


Since Snowden has leaked, point to one thing Snowden has lied about. Right. You have nothing to point to.

Okay, now point to something the government has lied about. Oh yeah, basically everything. In front of congress. Under oath.

If you believe what the government is selling you are either a fool, working for the government, working in the defense industry, or a fool working for the government or in the defense industry. Which one are you? No seriously, don’t respond without saying which one you are, because you are one of those.

It actually doesn’t even matter. Snowden could have left a severed puppy head on his managers desk and he would still be a hero. He exposed to the US public the largest warrantless domestic spying by a fucking military organization in US history. He exposed a level of domestic spying that would give the Stasi a boner. He exposed the government curb stomping the fourth amendment. His leak has lead to this shit actually getting challenged in a real court for the first time because the government can’t FUCKING LIE anymore and claim that the defendant wasn’t being spied on. Because of Snowden, the fucking government is going to actually follow due fucking process and fight this out in a real court… you know, a court with two fucking sides.

[quote=“nonfer, post:9, topic:12420”]
he washes out of basic training. happens, but he broke both legs? maybe.[/quote]
Hrm, could be a conspiracy! Maybe he didn’t break his legs and is a fucking robot alien!

I know, like totally! It is so completely unbelievable! Sure, not even the government has put out an alternate theory other than that Snowden is anything other than a bad ass patriotic hero, but he did leave his hot dancer girl friend and get into an e-mail fight with a manager once… probably is a spy, or a shape shifter, or an alien, or a communist.



Goes to show the Peter Principle applies even in the most highly vetted environments.

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Ha Ha, yes. Metaphorically of course.

Surely the rubric of the intelligence agencies is intentionally designing holes in security systems when creating them.
Is it at all surprising that such counter-intuitive philosophy bleeds over into their own security design?

I would think the inhuman effort of forcing one’s self to inculcate and grok the purported value of such a paradigm must require such ideological compartmentalisation and cognitive dissonance that it is unsurprising to find that the architects cannot help themselves from perpetuating the intentional flaws, even in their own ‘secure systems’.

I had a PCI ‘audit’ once for an ecommerce site.

I paid around $200 to Visa to answer 5 yes/no questions. There was no further verification.

It was, um, not very confidence inspiring. It felt more like a shakedown than anything resembling a ‘security audit’.