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The Boston Globe

Nation

Leaks show US intelligence vulnerability

Little chance to halt those with data access

WASHINGTON — The American intelligence community spends billions of dollars trying to protect the United States from foreign agents. But it was “just another guy who sits there day to day in the office” who showed how easy it is for someone within to weaken the National Security Agency’s information fortress.

Edward Snowden, a midlevel computer technician, used those “just another guy” words to describe himself when he acknowledged being the source of last week’s leaks about the NSA’s surveillance programs. He also claimed that he could, in an afternoon from his desk in Hawaii, disable the NSA’s entire surveillance system. By his telling, a few clicks on a computer by any number of employees could do significant damage to US interests.

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