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(Reuters)   Background investigation firm: We have some concerns about the resume and background of this James Snowden guy. Booz Allen: Nah, he seems legit, lets give him an uber-top secret clearance and a six-figure job anyway   (reuters.com) divider line 72
    More: Fail, background checks, NSA, Booz Allen Hamilton, University of Liverpool, University College Dublin, Office of Personnel Management, personnel management  
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8845 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Jun 2013 at 12:41 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-21 12:42:31 PM
Gee, I wonder who could have "leaked" this?  Certainly not the contractor responsible for Vetting this guy who wants to make it absolutely clear this shiat does NOT fall on him...'cause that would be wrong to discuss confidential information that way
 
2013-06-21 12:44:04 PM
That's just the Booz talking.
 
2013-06-21 12:44:10 PM
So another non-article trying to find a place to land blame and not discuss the larger issues?  But of course.
 
2013-06-21 12:47:08 PM
I mean he might have stretched it but here's what I got from the story:

Classwork from John Hopkins via an associated satellite school in Tokyo: Check
Enrolled and took classwork in grad level computer security program at U Liverpool: Check

Now he didn't say he finished his grad degree and didn't say he got some accreditation from JH, so I'm not really sure why this is relevant to the whole story. Background checks are obviously very, very important when it comes to top secret material, but I don't really see the merit in  more "character assassination" here. It's not as if he said he were an upstanding, non-commie with only red-blooded Murricanness who turned out to be a pinko-commie terrorist known to cavort with Charlie Chaplin and Owen Lattimroe
 
2013-06-21 12:47:54 PM
Meh.  Background checks are notoriously sloppy.  Unless the guy was convicted of an murdering a young girl in 1992 - we would of hired him.
 
2013-06-21 12:48:25 PM
Sure, concerns about the background check on a guy who's now Public Enemy Number One as far as the govt. is concerned. What a coincidence. Not at all suspiciously convenient.
 
2013-06-21 12:49:01 PM
James?

Is there a joke I'm missing?
 
2013-06-21 12:50:14 PM
So, the NSA will hire any liar with lies on a resume.
 
2013-06-21 12:51:37 PM
Says here 'you invented the internet'. I thought Al Gore did that.

Oh, Al Gore just provided the initiative that created the internet. I invented it. Here's the napkin with the design (shows interviewer a napkin with "computer---internet---other computer" written on it..

Sounds good. Welcome to Booz Allen.
 
2013-06-21 12:54:20 PM
Those things pretty much always state concerns. It's CYA for the investigators and even if you were 100% clean, that in-and-of-itself would probably qualify as something they include as a concern. You could never staff an operation the size of the US intelligence apparatus if you discounted applicants based on minor wrinkles like an educational 'estimate' being off. (If you hire someone who hasn't yet graduated, what do you *expect* to happen to their degree progress?)

It's also pretty amusing that anyone thinks it's reasonable to even expect a background check could possibly predict and prevent every future problem.
Though I guess that mentality goes hand-in-hand with thinking that if you just spied on everyone, you could find and stop the terrorists.

And it continues to be hilarious, the way people are admitting through implication, that *a conscience* that would lead someone to blow the whistle on unconstitutional activity, is a liability / crime / issue-a-background-check-should-have-detected-and-flagged.
 
2013-06-21 12:54:54 PM
"Huh, he wrote that he graduated high school on Thursday June 10th, 2005."
"But... June 10th, 2005 was a Friday!"
"Meh, what's the worst that could happen?"
 
2013-06-21 12:55:19 PM
was hired this spring after he convinced his screeners that his description of his education was truthful

a well-paid computer whiz who might have potentially misrepresented a small part of his classroom education, while truthfully stating that he "estimated" that he might get a master's degree sometime?

NATIONAL DEFENSE FAILURE!

high school drop-outs in my life:
1 - makes way more than this guy. designs large-scale database platforms. platforms. designs them.
2 - web developer who hit it big as the webmaster for a very well-known band, and his career took off from there.
3 - welder. loves his work and supports his family well. makes metal sculpture in his spare time.

skillz > education .  even the NSA knows this.
 
2013-06-21 12:55:42 PM

gingerjet: Meh.  Background checks are notoriously sloppy.  Unless the guy was convicted of an murdering a young girl in 1992 - we would of hired him.


91 or 93 he would have needed to ritually sacrifice a chicken in a pagan burial mound as well to be DQd.

Those were "enhancement years"
 
2013-06-21 12:56:31 PM
To think that when the intelligence industry experienced bloat and the NSA, CIA, and FBI in their infinite wisdom decided to outsource this to contractors that issues might arise

Who'd a thunk?
 
2013-06-21 01:02:06 PM
Snowden's character assasination is in full swing.  TFA is long on innuendo and words designed to make him look bad but contains no specifics.   This and that MAY have happened, but nobody admits knowing anything concrete, so TFA is constructed to raise suspicion.
Call it what it is - a CYA move.
 
2013-06-21 01:03:44 PM
It is unclear precisely which element of Snowden's resume caused personnel officials at Booz Allen Hamilton to raise questions about his background. Also unclear is how he satisfied their concerns

In other words, they don't know a damned thing.  Just like the posters here that claim to be inside the mind of Snowden.
 
2013-06-21 01:04:42 PM
The terrorists won. They really did.
 
2013-06-21 01:09:22 PM
I worked for USIS for 9 years, conducting background investigations.  One thing they definitely do not do is sloppy investigative work.
 
2013-06-21 01:10:28 PM
Interesting that Snowden is referred to as having a $200K / year job....when Booz paid him $122K...of which he earned 1/12 of that, since....

"Snowden had been on the job there for about four weeks when he traveled to Hong Kong last month and leaked the U.S. government secrets that made him known around the world."

CSB - Back when I worked for Booz, they paid you monthly...and lagged by two weeks...so after you were hired, it was six weeks before you got your first paycheck. So, they might not have even paid him at all. At most, a few grand....which he promptly went through at the $400/night hotel in HK. This guy didn't waste any time in leaking info....so did he have those plans in place even before he joined Booz?
 
2013-06-21 01:11:25 PM
As someone with a small level of federal security clearance, I can say this from my experience:

BFD. "Discrepancies" happen all the time.

Sorry, but most of the same qualities that make a person a good candidate for employment are the same qualities that make a person become a whistleblower when they see that shiat is FUBAR and someone needs to say something.
 
2013-06-21 01:11:49 PM
What's the big deal?  We already know more about his educational background than Obama's.
 
2013-06-21 01:11:57 PM

BafflerMeal: So another non-article trying to find a place to land blame and not discuss the larger issues?  But of course.


Well, technically this does make the scandal somewhat worse.

Before, the government was compiling tons of data from warantless/shady-warrant searches on citizens with no probable cause for its own nefarious purposes.

Now we know that the government is actually compiling tons of data from warantless/shady-warrant searches on citizens with no probable cause for its own nefarious purposes, and also giving random assholes who can't pass a basic security check access to it.

So, y'know, one more notch down on how forgivable the whole thing is.

//I don't think whoever's running the "character assassination on the leaker" fully realizes that the worse they make him look, the worse the entire project looks for giving him clearance and access to a bunch of personally identifiable surveillance data.
 
2013-06-21 01:12:21 PM

BlameBush: Snowden's character assasination is in full swing.


Yep, and so is the media whitewash, including some pretty obvious astroturfers here on fark.
 
2013-06-21 01:14:16 PM
This makes me feel like a chump for always being honest on my resume and during job interviews.

I should have just said I was earning at least 25% more every time I interviewed and had twice as much experience and if I ever heard of something I had experience in it.
 
2013-06-21 01:15:55 PM

the801: high school drop-outs in my life:


What you said.  I interview lots of people in IT.  Some for clients, some to help me out when I'm swamped.  Some of the best guys/gals have zero college and only high school.  Some are HS dropouts.  Some come up with a few legal dings and as long as it isn't theft/unjustified murder/etc... they are good with me.  For instance I don't count drunken mooning of a drive-thru as a bad thing.  Instead you get moved to the top of the pile for fun-factor.

The resumes that go in the round file are the ones that put education at the top and not the bottom.

Skills > Education for sure.
 
2013-06-21 01:17:47 PM
I am completely flabbergasted that Snowden's past has come under scrutiny and that there is a chance he may be discredited.  Never saw it coming.
 
2013-06-21 01:19:01 PM
Booz Allen doesn't "give" people Top Secret clearances.  Only the government can issue them, and based on this guys previous employment, i'm willing to bet he already had one when Booz hired him.
 
2013-06-21 01:22:41 PM

ringersol: Those things pretty much always state concerns. It's CYA for the investigators and even if you were 100% clean, that in-and-of-itself would probably qualify as something they include as a concern. You could never staff an operation the size of the US intelligence apparatus if you discounted applicants based on minor wrinkles like an educational 'estimate' being off. (If you hire someone who hasn't yet graduated, what do you *expect* to happen to their degree progress?)

It's also pretty amusing that anyone thinks it's reasonable to even expect a background check could possibly predict and prevent every future problem.
Though I guess that mentality goes hand-in-hand with thinking that if you just spied on everyone, you could find and stop the terrorists.

And it continues to be hilarious, the way people are admitting through implication, that *a conscience* that would lead someone to blow the whistle on unconstitutional activity, is a liability / crime / issue-a-background-check-should-have-detected-and-flagged.


"Unconstitutional activity?" That remains to be seen, and perhaps someone will file a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against the so-called Patriot Act and the Supreme Court will find Prism unconstitutional. However, the program is legal, so far as I know, having been authorized (and re-approved) by Congress. I don't like it either and would love to see the whole damn Act repealed. Nor do I think Snowden is a traitor or anything. But many of his supporters are starting to sound as much like members of a cult of personality about him as they claim Obama's defenders are being. It also seems a bit odd to me that a lot of the folks who say they are so concerned about every citizen's right to privacy are the same people who apparently believe our government should not have the right to keep anything secret. There's plenty of hypocrisy to go around on both sides as far as I can tell.

\gives credit to Snowden for at least opening up this subject for discussion; not bad for a high-school dropout.
 
2013-06-21 01:23:01 PM
When I worked for the NYS lottery I had to complete a 60 page background check application and the investigation took 6 months to complete. I would imagine the CIA would be more meticulous with their background checks than that, right? RIGHT?
 
2013-06-21 01:23:06 PM
He fudged his resume? Sounds like one of us.
 
2013-06-21 01:24:28 PM

houginator: Booz Allen doesn't "give" people Top Secret clearances.  Only the government can issue them, and based on this guys previous employment, i'm willing to bet he already had one when Booz hired him.


This.  TFA:
"Based on reports from firms such as USIS, the NSA decides whether a potential contract worker gets a security clearance."

So... anyone ask the NSA why they granted the clearance?  They had all his email, phone records, etc. They should have known.
 
2013-06-21 01:25:21 PM
No agency that employed him has any credibility
 
2013-06-21 01:26:18 PM

Philimus: ringersol: Those things pretty much always state concerns. It's CYA for the investigators and even if you were 100% clean, that in-and-of-itself would probably qualify as something they include as a concern. You could never staff an operation the size of the US intelligence apparatus if you discounted applicants based on minor wrinkles like an educational 'estimate' being off. (If you hire someone who hasn't yet graduated, what do you *expect* to happen to their degree progress?)

It's also pretty amusing that anyone thinks it's reasonable to even expect a background check could possibly predict and prevent every future problem.
Though I guess that mentality goes hand-in-hand with thinking that if you just spied on everyone, you could find and stop the terrorists.

And it continues to be hilarious, the way people are admitting through implication, that *a conscience* that would lead someone to blow the whistle on unconstitutional activity, is a liability / crime / issue-a-background-check-should-have-detected-and-flagged.

"Unconstitutional activity?" That remains to be seen, and perhaps someone will file a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against the so-called Patriot Act and the Supreme Court will find Prism unconstitutional. However, the program is legal, so far as I know, having been authorized (and re-approved) by Congress. I don't like it either and would love to see the whole damn Act repealed. Nor do I think Snowden is a traitor or anything. But many of his supporters are starting to sound as much like members of a cult of personality about him as they claim Obama's defenders are being. It also seems a bit odd to me that a lot of the folks who say they are so concerned about every citizen's right to privacy are the same people who apparently believe our government should not have the right to keep anything secret. There's plenty of hypocrisy to go around on both sides as far as I can tell.

\gives credit to Snowden for at least opening up this subject for discussion ...


The fact that every one of us knows at least one person with a security clearance tells me most state secrets are not that farking important. Look at the 90% nonsense we got from Brad Manning's cables.
 
2013-06-21 01:27:19 PM

houginator: Booz Allen doesn't "give" people Top Secret clearances.  Only the government can issue them, and based on this guys previous employment, i'm willing to bet he already had one when Booz hired him.


Yup.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Scope_Background_Investigation
 
2013-06-21 01:31:39 PM
Looks like his resume said "Attended computer courses at Johns Hopkins", when he really didn't attend Johns Hopkins, but he did attend the Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins.

That's it.  Whoopie-do.
 
2013-06-21 01:33:51 PM

houginator: Booz Allen doesn't "give" people Top Secret clearances.  Only the government can issue them, and based on this guys previous employment, i'm willing to bet he already had one when Booz hired him.


You've got to reapply when you get a new job. I think that's a recent change, and you used to be able to keep it for 6mos(?) between jobs (assuming old a new job would/could sponsor you).

FUN FACT: The newest version of the lowest-level-clearance application is identical to the old contractor badge application (i.e. the application to get an swipe card/ID badge identifying you as a contractor so that you can walk around the building you work in).
 
2013-06-21 01:37:27 PM

BlameBush: Snowden's character assasination is in full swing.  TFA is long on innuendo and words designed to make him look bad but contains no specifics.   This and that MAY have happened, but nobody admits knowing anything concrete, so TFA is constructed to raise suspicion.
Call it what it is - a CYA move.


If anything, it makes the NSA look bad.
Why would the NSA trust such important knowledge to a guy such as this?
 
2013-06-21 01:39:42 PM

dome maravilloso: When I worked for the NYS lottery I had to complete a 60 page background check application and the investigation took 6 months to complete. I would imagine the CIA would be more meticulous with their background checks than that, right? RIGHT?


The CIA is made of lying spies by its definition.  The goal of vetting CIA workers is plausible deniability.

The Lottery, in order to exist, requires people who do not steal large sums of barely traceable money.  The goal of vetting lottery workers is to ensure that only politicians can steal that money.
 
2013-06-21 01:41:03 PM
I can't figure out why people keep harping on the six-figure salary. Infosec pays well, why all the butthurt?
 
2013-06-21 01:41:09 PM
Philimus: ""Unconstitutional activity?" That remains to be seen,"

It remains to be proven, sure. But few-if-any people are saying "this guy was wrong to blow the whistle on the merits". They're saying "this guy is a traitor for going to the press".
My point is *Snowden* thought it was problematic. And didn't feel his concerns were being addressed inside. So his conscience led him to blow the whistle. And his conscience appears to be what's on trial in our press. Not whether his concerns have merit. Just the fact that he ever went to the press and why didn't the background check determine him to be someone who might do this?

Also: every action under an unconstitutional law was 100% legal before the courts overturn them. So it's hardly a defense against a charge of unconstitutionality to say "but they're doing everything according to the law". You have to actually dig into whether the law comports with the rights of the people, and restrictions on the government, as laid out in the constitution and precedent interpretations.
 
2013-06-21 01:43:37 PM
Is James related to Edward?
 
2013-06-21 01:48:21 PM

Marcus Aurelius: It is unclear precisely which element of Snowden's resume caused personnel officials at Booz Allen Hamilton to raise questions about his background. Also unclear is how he satisfied their concerns

In other words, they don't know a damned thing. Just like the posters here that claim to be inside the mind of Snowden.


Actually, I think it was the part asking for 5 years of experience with Windows 8, 30 years of experience with Java and no older than 28 years old.  Snowden claimed to have all 3 and got hired.
 
2013-06-21 01:50:45 PM
kokomo61

Interesting that Snowden is referred to as having a $200K / year job....when Booz paid him $122K...

I've been wondering if that 200k figure actually refers to what Booz was charging for him. That would actually be somewhat low for a contractor in this field, but considering the scale of the relationship between Booz and the government I could see getting that kind of discount.

/pure speculation
//could also be "total compensation" including expected bonuses, company-paid benefits, etc...
///could also be bs
 
2013-06-21 01:53:45 PM

WayToBlue: kokomo61

Interesting that Snowden is referred to as having a $200K / year job....when Booz paid him $122K...

I've been wondering if that 200k figure actually refers to what Booz was charging for him. That would actually be somewhat low for a contractor in this field, but considering the scale of the relationship between Booz and the government I could see getting that kind of discount.

/pure speculation
//could also be "total compensation" including expected bonuses, company-paid benefits, etc...
///could also be bs



My current payday = what the corp pays my bodyshop - bodyshop taking a %.

Depending on one's role and bodyshop the % is from 15-50 in my field.
 
2013-06-21 01:54:25 PM
When I was in the military, my job required a TS/SCI clearance which entailed getting a Single scope background investigation. Even though I had bee out of high school for 10 years at that time. They still went to my high school and talked to whatever teachers that were still there. They sent investigators to talk to my neighbors I never talked too in real life. Biggest pain in my ass is going thru that and the interviews, they even interviewed my girlfriend at the time looking for anything. Now that I am out, I will never go thru that process again unless it pays millions of dollars a year. I would take a $10/hr job before working with the government or contractors to avoid that. Maybe it would be easier if I went into a specialty that needed a clearance right out of high school, it would have been easier.
 
2013-06-21 01:59:36 PM
Have you ever seen a SF-86? It would be impossible to -not- have some discrepancy on that thing, unless you can manage to remember things like the exact street address you lived at 10 years ago, or forgot that your sister that you don't see very often visited China a few years back.
 
2013-06-21 02:00:24 PM

maddogdelta: Marcus Aurelius: It is unclear precisely which element of Snowden's resume caused personnel officials at Booz Allen Hamilton to raise questions about his background. Also unclear is how he satisfied their concerns

In other words, they don't know a damned thing. Just like the posters here that claim to be inside the mind of Snowden.

Actually, I think it was the part asking for 5 years of experience with Windows 8, 30 years of experience with Java and no older than 28 years old.  Snowden claimed to have all 3 and got hired.


Ah, the IT field... Asking for X years experience on a technology that has not even been around for X years.

What kind of an idiot writes job requirements like that?
 
2013-06-21 02:04:30 PM
All I know about this guy: makes 3x what my wife, who is an RN, makes. Banging a hot, super flexible chick. Discovers shady stuff at government jorb and rather than doing things the legal way, throws it all away to make $500 a year food stipend and bang all the hottest, 4ft tall Nork chicks he can.
Am I missing any of it?
 
2013-06-21 02:09:40 PM

pxlboy: maddogdelta: Marcus Aurelius: It is unclear precisely which element of Snowden's resume caused personnel officials at Booz Allen Hamilton to raise questions about his background. Also unclear is how he satisfied their concerns

In other words, they don't know a damned thing. Just like the posters here that claim to be inside the mind of Snowden.

Actually, I think it was the part asking for 5 years of experience with Windows 8, 30 years of experience with Java and no older than 28 years old.  Snowden claimed to have all 3 and got hired.

Ah, the IT field... Asking for X years experience on a technology that has not even been around for X years.

What kind of an idiot writes job requirements like that?


About 1/2 the job descriptions I've seen. The particular platform I work with now has been around for about a decade but not in any meaningful form since 2008. Yet when I looked for the last few jobs I interviewed for, several companies were looking for 8+ years of experience specifically with this platform ( similar ones did not apply), in addition to experience with stuff like web services, SQL (all flavors), AD, monitoring software for an architect role. At that point, the only people with 8+ years of experience working with it would have started with the company that invented the platform and likely make close to seven figures a year.

Admittedly, outside of the platform experience, the other technologies make sense for an architect role, but HR has a nasty habit of writing job descriptions without consulting anyone who does the actual work. Normally I wouldn't care but I've had to interview dozens of candidates with ill-fitted requirements on the job description. We've gotten some great workers but more chaff than I'd care to admit to.
 
2013-06-21 02:34:09 PM

redmid17: pxlboy: maddogdelta: Marcus Aurelius: It is unclear precisely which element of Snowden's resume caused personnel officials at Booz Allen Hamilton to raise questions about his background. Also unclear is how he satisfied their concerns

In other words, they don't know a damned thing. Just like the posters here that claim to be inside the mind of Snowden.

Actually, I think it was the part asking for 5 years of experience with Windows 8, 30 years of experience with Java and no older than 28 years old.  Snowden claimed to have all 3 and got hired.

Ah, the IT field... Asking for X years experience on a technology that has not even been around for X years.

What kind of an idiot writes job requirements like that?

About 1/2 the job descriptions I've seen. The particular platform I work with now has been around for about a decade but not in any meaningful form since 2008. Yet when I looked for the last few jobs I interviewed for, several companies were looking for 8+ years of experience specifically with this platform ( similar ones did not apply), in addition to experience with stuff like web services, SQL (all flavors), AD, monitoring software for an architect role. At that point, the only people with 8+ years of experience working with it would have started with the company that invented the platform and likely make close to seven figures a year.

Admittedly, outside of the platform experience, the other technologies make sense for an architect role, but HR has a nasty habit of writing job descriptions without consulting anyone who does the actual work. Normally I wouldn't care but I've had to interview dozens of candidates with ill-fitted requirements on the job description. We've gotten some great workers but more chaff than I'd care to admit to.


I was contacted about a gig doing corporate Android rollouts and they were wanting (at the time) 5 years experience in Android deployment.

I politely informed the guy at the staffing company that 5 years prior, Android was not being rolled out in corporate environments. He insisted that I should just write that into my resume somehow.
 
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