The highly classified, confidential documents that revealed the NSA’s massive data-mining operation, PRISM, were leaked from the NSA’s facilities on none other than a simple, innocuous thumb drive. Any sort of portable digital device is understandably barred by the highly secretive branch of government, but whistleblower Edward Snowden somehow managed to download thousands of files — of which investigators claim to “know how many he downloaded and what server he took them from.”
Snowden, who was contracted from Booz Allen as an NSA system administrator, enjoyed wide access to the agency’s computer systems, including knowledge of how these networks checked for unauthorised downloads. But although officials know what he took, as of yet, no one has been able to figure out exactly how he managed to access the files, which were under a “Top Secret” order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The now notorious PowerPoint slides were probably under less strict security restrictions, which Snowden explaining to The Guardian:
There is a certain level of information that is not specific to a mission, but helps people who work there understand how the place functions.
Snowden is currently seeking asylum in China, although FBI Director Robert Mueller III said today that “he expects Snowden to be arrested and prosecuted in [the US].” All because of a puny little flash drive.
And the moral of the story, boys and girls? Time to put all of our espionage back on floppy disks where they belong.