A senior-level defense official said Thursday that keeping top-secret
information on one shared server and giving an individual the ability to view
and move that data were two mistakes that allowed NSA leaker Edward Snowden to
disclose top-secret information.
Although Ashton Carter, the deputy secretary of defense, said he didn't want
to directly comment on Snowden -- "because that is a criminal investigation"
-- he spent a portion of a panel at the Aspen Security Forum laying out the
"root causes of all of this."
"This is a failure to defend our own network," Carter said. "That failure
originated from two practices that we need to reverse."
The first mistake: "In an effort for those in the intelligence community to be
able to share information with one another, there was an enormous amount of
information concentrated in one place. ... It creates too much information in
The second: "You had an individual who was given very substantial authority to
access that information and move that information. That ought not to be the
Carter also said that the damage Snowden caused to the United States is "very
substantial" and is still being assessed.
"We are acting ...