Snowden handed NSA information in Dell's employ: Reports

Snowden handed NSA information in Dell's employ: Reports

Summary: Reports have surfaced claiming that Edward Snowden began his intelligence collection in 2012.


Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was able to download NSA documents while working for Dell in 2012, almost a year earlier than previously thought, Reuters has reported.

While much of the scrutiny on Snowden has been focused on his time with NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden was only with the company for three months, and spent his previous time since 2009 employed by Dell.

During his time with Dell, Snowden was assigned as a contractor to the NSA in the US and Japan.

Anonymous sources speaking to Reuters said that Snowden had "downloaded information while employed by Dell about eavesdropping programs run by the NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, and left an electronic footprint indicating when he accessed the documents".

A spokesperson for Dell told the wire service that its "customer" has asked Dell not to talk about Snowden's time with the company.

Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said in a speech last week that the actions of Snowden and Bradley Manning did not constitute "genuine whistleblowing", because the information they leaked was not related to government "wrongdoing".

"The attorney-general drew attention to the important distinction that should be made between genuine whistleblowing, which means revealing illegal activities by government, and unauthorised disclosures of confidential information in relation to actions that are in fact authorised under law and overseen by appropriate government bodies," a spokesperson for Dreyfus told ZDNet today.

Greens communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam has accused the Australian government and opposition of having a bipartisan agreement to not talk about Manning and Snowden's activities.

"We have, over the last day or so, seen our attorney-general declare that people like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are not whistleblowers and respectively cutting them loose, indicating that the Australian government doesn't support the kind of legal protection that really should be [given] to whistleblowers who disclose war crimes," Ludlam said earlier this week.

Topics: Security, Government, Government AU, Privacy


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • Baloney

    How is violating the 4th Amendment by collecting all the emails and phone conversations without a warrant not wrongdoing? XKeyScore! So the Australian Attorney General is a liar just like Holden. All these governments have gotten too big for the people's good.
    • "If the President does it, that makes it legal!"

      Former president Richard M. Nixon in the infamous interview with David Frost. Substitute "President" with "NSA or any other spy agency." If the government declares that it is OK for the government to spy on innocent civilians against whom there is no "probable cause" (needed for a REAL warrant issued by a REAL court, not the FISA rubber stamp mockery of a court), "that makes it legal." If the head of the Art Department at Harvard declares that black is white, does that make it true?
    • Agreed!

      The first thought I had when I read Dreyfus' comment was that he's a moron. The basis for all law in our country is supposed to be our Constitution. The Constitution forbids actions like this by our government. Therefore, they are breaking the law. Snowden's actions are most definitely whistle blowing and he is a modern patriot for putting the needs of the people above his own desires. He gave up everything in his life to alert us to the illegal and immoral activities of our tyrannical government. That is the very definition of a patriot. True patriots don't protect the government at the expense of the people. They protect the people from evil perpetrated by governments. If they prosecute him, there is going to be huge civil unrest generated.
    • Yep

      Writs of assistance by any other name is still the same. This is tantamount to police going though a 40 story apartment building because they suspect one tenant of wrong doing.

      Our 4th amendment deemed these acts as unjust and the modification was applied to our constitution to prevent such acts.

      Now Bush and Obama have proceeded to violate our rights in the name of safety and uneducated people applaud and defend the very people taking their rights away.
    • Here in Australia we have a word for

      our Attorney General, dickhead!
      It's all very well for the Governments (Plural intended) to think they have the right to peer into even the most intimate details of the lives of the population. Obviously the populace does not entirely agree, therefore this makes the Government nosey parkers a bunch of creepy stalkers, hang on a second.....hasn't Australia got anti-stalking laws?
  • NSA contractor at Dell?

    So a company like Dell has employed/ing an NSA contractor? I assume that NSA contractors are also in HP, Intel, Microsoft etc
    • The probably have an NSA office in MS headquaters

      Working on the Windows backdoor program...
      • Sorry T1Oracle, but obscure blog sites

        with no reference or back up to substantiate their claims, except from Open Source and Mac "sources" throws up too many red flags that it's very likely it's all fabricated.

        Reading that story, it was a believable as an earlier article that claimed the government has the bodies of two extraterrestrials hidden in a lab in area 51.

        Nice try though, nice to see the lengths your hatred compels you to look for things that are not really there. Or is it all to get us NOT to look too close at Google?

        I'm starting to feel that T1Oracle doth protest too much, methinks! ;)
        William Farrel
        • Be careful T1

          You wouldn't want to ruffle Microsoft fan but Farrel's feathers by exposing Microsoft. You certainly wouldn't want to mention that Bill Gates is the largest stockholder of arguably one of the worlds most evil corporations Monsanto.
    • NSA has cleared contractors from Dell working for it

      I think that's what's being implied.
    • The real question is...

    • contractor

      Dude, Dell was doing contract work for the NSA, Snowden was just an employee.
  • B.S

    So this Aussie thinks that killing innocent bystanders and attacking their children is legal in war....time you retired matey your heads so far up your own a$$ that you don't have a clue anymore!
  • Bull

    So the Aussies join with other governments in labeling these WHISTLEBLOWERS as traitors and criminals instead.

    GOVERNMENTS are the CRIMINALS and when people "out" them, they will use every tool in their arsenal under "the Rule of Law" - which they have already made meaningless - to create a narrative the foolish and gullible among us might accept.

    Should these governments succeed in writing history to suit their "story", it will be a Brave New World indeed.
    • What Aussie ??

      Snowden is not Australian
      • That Aussie!

        The one titled as Australian Attorney General, idjit!
  • NSA: We're hunting terrorists, we don't need no stinking 4th Amendment

    Why is it obvious to everyone but the people in power that Snowden is a whistleblower? Could it be because they don't want to give up that power? I'm afraid we're never going back to the way things were.

    Our only recourse, as I see it, is to take matters into our own hands. We need to start making ourselves smaller targets. Start using encryption for phone calls, text messages and email. Stop using Dropbox, Instagram and iCloud to store and share files. Put everything in a Cloudlocker ( which stays at home where they still need a warrant & probable cause that you're a bad guy to get to it.

    I foresee many more new products like this coming out to keep us safe from the people supposed to keep us safe.
    • probable cause

      which stays at home where they still need a warrant & probable cause that you're a bad guy to get to it.
      "which stays at home" IS probable cause in these times.
    • Funny, and a bit odd even, you talk of power

      yet are happy with the power that Snowden gave himself in stealing, then running to a foreign country with secrets that could very well get people killed should he lose control of it, which is what will likely happen.

      He, a single man decided what was best for everyone. He, a single man decided what was more important - this info, or your family's life. He, a single man has more power right now then any single person should hold, and you feel secure with that? If your family becomes injured because of this, will you blame the government for not doing enough? (I'm guessing you will)

      Funny, how you talk of "power" without realizing the extent of such power. The power that should be used only by a group of people where all angles can be contemplated, not a kind of power someone with a screw loose should be walking around with by himself.

      But what the heck, for all you know he's selling it to the highest bidder right now, maybe he even works for the Russians, can you absolutely assure us that he isn't?

      See, much less whistleblower, far more traitor now, when everything is taken into account,
      William Farrel
      • money, money, money...

        that's the sole argument you've!

        But with the american "money for ever" culture, let's hope he'll make a bunch of money with all the information he got.

        Further, whatever he got these classified document when working at Dell (and there is no evidence of that) or later just is a proof of how unsecure are the purported protection of the illegaly colected data of both the NSA, the CIA and the Penthagon.

        Let's hope that thousands of hackers will now attack all theirs web structures since spying against other such as european allies just to give the US companies more advantages is king of cold war.

        The USA aren't anymore the first power in the world, but for liars and crooks and should be dead without the permanent payoff of the Chinese.

        Just remember you're banckrupt.

        And stop your paranoia about "secrets that could very well get people killed" that are more than ridiculous.