Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Information

03 December, 2017, 02:02 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade Md

An Ellicott City man and former employee of the National Security Agency pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Baltimore to removing classified documents and bringing them home - the latest in a series of similar breaches at the spy agency to be publicly revealed. He risks a maximum prison sentence of up to ten years, but according to the Times, prosecutors agreed as part of his plea deal not to ask for more than eight years, if found guilty.

Pho took the classified material home to assist him in reworking his resume, according to unnamed government officials who spoke to the New York Times.

US District Judge George L. Russell scheduled sentencing for April 6.

Further, prosecutors stated that from 2010 until March 2015, Pho started removing classified writing and documents from his work computer.

The information stored by Pho was is believed to have been stolen by Russian hackers who identified the Top Secret government documents after it was identified by the Kaspersky Lab antivirus software installed on his personal computer. The chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, says he's ready to have his company's source code examined by USA government officials to help dispel long-lingering suspicions about his company's ties to the Kremlin.

In the meantime, Kaspersky Lab is denying media reports that it helped Russian spies steal any classified NSA data.

And in 2013, former contractor Edward Snowden pilfered secrets about NSA's surveillance programs and shared them with journalists.




The court documents do not appear to make mention of Russian intelligence agencies or Kaspersky Lab.

The NSA, whose main mission is gathering and analyzing foreign communications for potential security threats, is based at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Pho himself worked at the NSA from 2006 to 2016, and was employed in Tailored Access Operations unit, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

A federal grand jury indicted former NSA contractor Harold Martin in February on charges alleging he spent up to 20 years stealing up to 50 terabytes of highly sensitive government material from the U.S. intelligence community, which were hoarded at his home.

And Harold T. Martin III was arrested in 2016 after Federal Bureau of Investigation agents discovered some 50 terabytes of data and documents that Martin had taken from the NSA and other agencies over a period of 20 years.

Reality Winner, 25, a former Air Force linguist who worked as an NSA contractor at a facility in Augusta, Georgia, was charged in June with copying a classified USA report and mailing it to a news organization. Martin was indicted in February on charges of violating the Espionage Act.

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