Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says the analysts who monitored the texts and e-mails of millions of Americans would sometimes share intercepted nude photos and sex texts with colleagues.
Snowden, in a lengthy interview with The Guardian published this weekend, said he and his colleagues sometimes doubted the ethics of what they were doing.
“Many of the people searching through the haystacks (of information) were young, enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old,” Snowden told the publication. “In the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated in any sort of necessary sense — for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. But they’re extremely attractive. So what do they do?
“They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says, ‘Oh, hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way,’ and then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom, and sooner or later this person’s whole life has been seen by all of these other people.”
Snowden told the Guardian that the analysts were comfortable sharing the information because they worked in small offices where everyone knew everyone else. “It’s never reported, because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak,” he said. The proof of that, Snowden said, was his own situation.