Edward Snowden, the man who turned whistleblower against the National Security Agency (NSA) and revealed how the NSA was spying on pretty much every Internet company in the world, learned his hacking skills in India, claims a Times of India report. You can read the full report here.
The TOI report says that Snowden “spent a week in New Delhi training in core Java programming and advanced ethical hacking and this training that got him certified as an EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA).”
And where exactly did Snowden learn all the core Java programming skills in New Delhi? At an offshore IT training and certification provider Koenig Solutions which is located in Moti Nagar, New Delhi says the Times of India report.The report says that TOI has also seen a a copy of “The Registration of Foreigners Rule 1939 Form C Hotel Arrival report which shows Snowden checked into Koenig Inn run by the institute in Karol Bagh at 2.30pm on September 3 2010.”
According to Rohit Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Koenig Solutions, Snowden paid over $2000 for training, lodging, etc. The report also quotes a Koenig centre manager Hema Sharma, as saying that Snowden, mostly “kept to himself. He was unassuming and nothing out of the ordinary…. He would frequently visit the Haldirams restaurant next to our centre.”
Rolling Stones has also done an in-depth detailed cover on Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who broke the NSA story. The Rolling Stones cover story however doesn’t mention an India stint for Snowden.
The story mentions how Snowden left the CIA in 2009 and went to NSA. “The NSA was very blue-collar, much more utilitarian than the CIA,” says Thomas Drake, a former NSA official who was also interviewed for the Rolling Stones story. He says, “If you could prove your chops with computers, it didn’t matter what your background was, or what your grades were. We had a lot of people like Snowden at the NSA, who I hired. And there was no limit on the contracting side.”
The profile gives an interesting insight into the world of Edward Snowden and how he came to start his career in the CIA and then the NSA. For instance Snowden “posted regularly at Ars Technica, the technology news and culture site, where, under the username TheTrueHOOHA, he chatted about video games and queried the more experienced geeks for help improving his computer skills. “I really want to know ‘how’ a real web server works,” he posted, at 18. “
The report adds that “Snowden began his NSA career in Japan, where he was given a fairly mundane job supervising upgrades to NSA computer systems.” You can read the full Rolling Stones cover here.