Ever since the top secret NSA PRISM documents were disclosed, the NSA has been in scramble mode, doing everything possible to try to track down the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden.
The Daily Beast has a good write up on the “Q-Group” which is the top secret Associate Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence group, who is assigned to track down Snowden. According to the article, it says the Q-Group was already investigating Snowden prior to the leak, and when he disappeared, the directorate “noticed” this. Then when the leak happened, before he self-admitted he was the leaker, Snowden immediately became the lead suspect.
I find this hard to believe, being that they had the general idea that Snowden was up to no good, how did they let him leave to China, and/or not know his whereabouts afterwards? It sounds like the directorate may be trying to assert their pre-leak knowledge, to which they really didn’t know any more than you and I did. I’m sure all of this has come to a complete surprise to everyone, including the NSA. Investigators also believe that Snowden may not have worked alone.
The security and counterintelligence directorate serves as the NSA’s internal police force, in effect watching the agency’s watchers for behavior that could pose an intelligence risk. It has the authority to interview an NSA contractor or employee’s known associates, and even to activate a digital dragnet capable of finding out where a target travels, what the target has purchased, and the target’s online activity.
Read the full article on the Q-Group here.