Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked information on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, impersonated NSA officials in order to obtain files, NBC News reported Thursday.
While working for Booz Allen Hamilton, the technology consulting firm that contracted for the NSA, Snowden reportedly used his access as a system administrator to borrow the electronic identities of officials with higher security clearances via NSAnet, the agency's intranet. Snowden reportedly used the identities obtain 20,000 documents containing information on the agency's controversial programs
"Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” an anonymous former intelligence official told NBC. "This is why you don’t hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.”
In June, Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he took the job at Booz Allen with the intention of gathering evidence on the NSA's data collection networks.
“My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he said. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
Snowden was granted temporary asylum by Russia earlier this month.