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Jul 8, 2013

Exclusive: Congress delaying U.S. aid to Syrian rebels – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional committees are holding up a plan to send U.S. weapons to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because of fears that such arms deliveries will not be decisive and might end up in the hands of Islamist militants, five U.S. national security sources said.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees have expressed reservations behind closed doors at the effort by President Barack Obama’s administration to support the insurgents by sending them military hardware.

Jun 27, 2013

NSA chief says agency eavesdropping helped foil 54 plots

BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The director of the U.S. National Security Agency on Thursday offered a more detailed breakdown of 54 schemes by militants that he said were disrupted by phone and internet surveillance, even as a British newspaper offered evidence of more extensive spying.

In a speech in Baltimore, NSA chief General Keith Alexander said the list of cases turned over recently to Congress included 42 that involved disrupted plots and 12 in which surveillance targets provided material support to terrorism.

Jun 26, 2013

The ‘Snowden Effect’: U.S. spies say militants change tactics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Even as U.S. intelligence agencies and their global partners assess potential damage from Edward Snowden’s disclosures about surveillance programs, militants have begun responding by altering methods of communication, a change that could make it harder to foil attacks, U.S. officials say.

Intelligence agencies have detected that members of targeted militant organizations, including both Sunni and Shi’ite Islamist groups, have begun altering communications patterns in what was believed to be a direct response to details on eavesdropping leaked by the former U.S. spy agency contractor, two U.S. national security sources said.

Jun 24, 2013

U.S. officials don’t know how much secret material Snowden took

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence agencies are worried they do not yet know how much highly sensitive material is in the possession of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, whose whereabouts are unclear, several U.S. officials said.

The agencies fear that Snowden may have taken many more documents than officials initially estimated and that his alliance with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange increases the likelihood that they will be made public without considering the security implications, they said.

Jun 22, 2013

U.S. files espionage charges against Snowden over leaks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has filed espionage charges against Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who admitted revealing secret surveillance programs to media outlets, according to a court document made public on Friday.

Snowden, who is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong, was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person, said the criminal complaint, which was dated June 14.

Jun 22, 2013

U.S. files criminal charges against Snowden over leaks – U.S. sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has filed espionage charges against Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who admitted revealing secret surveillance programs to media outlets, according to a court document made public on Friday.

Snowden, who is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong, was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person, said the criminal complaint, which was dated June 14.

Jun 21, 2013

Exclusive: NSA contractor hired Snowden despite concerns about resume discrepancies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hiring screeners at Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the National Security Agency, found possible discrepancies in a resume submitted by Edward Snowden, but the company still employed him, a source with detailed knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

Snowden, who disclosed top secret documents about U.S. surveillance of telephone and Internet data after leaving his job as a systems administrator at an NSA facility in Hawaii, was hired this spring after he convinced his screeners that his description of his education was truthful, said the source, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Jun 21, 2013

NSA contractor hired Snowden despite concerns about resume discrepancies

WASHINGTON June 20 (Reuters) – Hiring screeners at Booz
Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the National Security Agency,
found possible discrepancies in a resume submitted by Edward
Snowden, but the company still employed him, a source with
detailed knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

Snowden, who disclosed top secret documents about U.S.
surveillance of telephone and Internet data after leaving his
job as a systems administrator at an NSA facility in Hawaii, was
hired this spring after he convinced his screeners that his
description of his education was truthful, said the source, who
is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Jun 21, 2013

U.S. contractor that vetted Snowden is under investigation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. government watchdog is examining a contractor that conducted a 2011 background investigation into Edward Snowden, the source of recent leaks about U.S. secret surveillance programs.

Patrick McFarland, the inspector general for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, told lawmakers on Thursday that his office is probing USIS, a Falls Church, Virginia-based company that is the largest private provider of federal government background checks.

Jun 19, 2013

Budget cuts hit security checks for defense contractors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A budget shortfall has forced a Pentagon security unit to sharply cut back on regular investigations used to update security clearances for defense contractor employees.

In a little-noticed announcement posted on its website on June 7, the Defense Security Service said that “due to a funding shortfall,” it has been obliged to suspend “most” routine re-investigations of defense contractor employers cleared at the “Top Secret” level, at least through the end of September.