Project Raven — Inside the UAE’s secret hacking team of American mercenaries
Ex-NSA operatives reveal how they helped spy on targets for
the Arab monarchy — dissidents, rival leaders and journalists.
By Christopher Bing + Joel Schectman
In 2013, her world changed. While stationed at NSA Hawaii, [Lori] Stroud says, she made the fateful recommendation to bring a Dell technician already working in the building onto her team. That contractor was Edward Snowden.
“He’s former CIA, he’s local, he’s already cleared,” Stroud, 37, recalled. “He’s perfect!” Booz and the NSA would later approve Snowden’s transfer, providing him with even greater access to classified material.
Two months after joining Stroud’s group, Snowden fled the United States and passed on thousands of pages of top secret program files to journalists, detailing the agency’s massive data collection programs. In the maelstrom that followed, Stroud said her Booz team was vilified for unwittingly enabling the largest security breach in agency history.
“Our brand was ruined,” she said of her team.
In the wake of the scandal, Marc Baier, a former colleague at NSA Hawaii, offered her the chance to work for a contractor in Abu Dhabi called CyberPoint. In May 2014, Stroud jumped at the opportunity and left Booz Allen.