recommended reading

Manager Likely Rubberstamped Snowden’s Foreign Travel


The supervisor of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden likely formally signed off on the network operations employee's personal trip to Hong Kong even though the nation has been linked to cyber espionage and Snowden’s high-level security clearances granted him access to American secrets.

Intelligence community employees must report foreign travel in advance, which is a long-time policy, a U.S. government official told Nextgov on Tuesday. A former NSA information technology manager said the supervisor would not have scrutinized the notice unless the employee had raised eyebrows in the past. "If somebody told me, 'I'm going to take a big trip to the Far East,' I probably wouldn't think that was suspicious," said the former NSA official who was not authorized to discuss the Snowden situation.

The since-fired Booz Allen Hamilton contractor posted to an NSA Hawaii office purportedly left for Hong Kong in May, under the ruse of seeking epilepsy treatment. After traveling to Hong Kong, Snowden revealed himself as the leaker who had exposed the agency's surveillance techniques through international media.

It is unclear whether the supervisor responsible for approving foreign travel would have been a Booz Allen or government employee. The U.S. official said the intelligence community is not commenting on such personnel issues; the matter is under investigation. Booz Allen officials also declined to comment on the subject of oversight.

Britain's Guardian, the Washington Post and Germany's Der Spiegel continue to release files Snowden smuggled out about NSA operations involving the digital tracking of U.S. adversaries and allies, including the European Union. Meanwhile, Snowden apparently remains stuck in a Russian transit terminal seeking asylum in various countries that so far have denied him protection from extradition to the United States, where he faces espionage charges. 

(Image via Policas/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.