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NSA facility where Snowden worked was reportedly waiting on updated security software

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Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has exposed numerous secret surveillance programs with new revelations coming on a regular basis, but it turns out it may have been easier for him to procure those documents than intended. Reuters reports that the NSA had begun to install new anti-leak software made by Raytheon well before Snowden went to work at the Hawaiian site where he downloaded a treasure trove of information — but that facility had not received the update.

Aimed at blocking what is termed "insider threats," the Raytheon software went into the field in response to White House orders to lock down security in the wake of the massive dump of US documents by WikiLeaks in 2010. According to Reuters, the Hawaii facility had not received the newest software because of bandwidth issues that would have prevented it from being installed and operating properly. The software monitors user activity in order to detect any strange behavior at the facilities, though it's not clear that Snowden would have definitively been flagged if it had been installed. In fact, Snowden reportedly began collecting classified documents in 2012 while working as an NSA contractor for Dell. He wouldn't begin working at the Remote Operations Center in Hawaii until 2013.

"NSA and the Intelligence Community at large have been moving forward with IT efficiency initiatives for several years," an NSA spokesperson told Reuters. "The unauthorized disclosures have naturally compelled NSA and the rest of the IC to accelerate the timeline."