NSA Contractor Hired Whistleblower Snowden Despite Concerns about his Resume

Mike O'Brien

National Security Agency contractor Booz Allen Hamilton hired whistleblower Edward Snowden even though there were concerns about his resume, according to a new report.

The news agency Reuters reported late on Thursday that Snowden was hired after he convinced hiring screeners at the contractor that his education details were truthful.

Quoting an unnamed source with detailed knowledge of the case, Reuters said it was not clear exactly how Snowden satisfied the hiring managers’ concerns earlier this year.

Snowden leaked 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.

His disclosures have been described by U.S. intelligence officials as harmful to national security.

They also raised grave concerns over the screening of more than 480,000 contract workers who have top-secret security clearances.

Before he worked at Booz Allen, Snowden was also screened byUSIS, a Virginia-based investigations firm hired separately by the U.S. government to conduct background checks on prospective employees and contractors.

At a Senate subcommittee hearing on Thursday it emerged that U.S. government personnel officials believe there were "problems" with the inadequate screening of Snowden’s background.

Snowden, a high school dropout who later passed the high school equivalency test known as the GED, wrote on his resume earlier this year that he went to computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University, a Tokyo campus of the University of Maryland and the University of Liverpool in Britain.

The resume said Snowden "estimated" he would receive a master's degree in computer security from Liverpool sometime this year.

While some of the educational information did not check out precisely, Booz Allen Hamilton hired him at an annual salary of $122,000 to work as a contractor for the NSA in Hawaii.

Snowden worked there for four weeks before traveling to Hong Kong last month, from where he leaked the U.S. government secrets.

A spokesman for Johns Hopkins, said that the university could find no record that Snowden had taken classes there.

The University of Maryland's University College division said that records showed that Snowden did attend a summer session at a campus that the college operates in Asia.

The University of Liverpool, however, said Snowden had registered for an online master's program in computer security in 2011 but "he is not active in his studies and has not completed the program."