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Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Willful Retention of National Defense Information

02 Декабря, 2017, 03:18 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • An aerial view of the National Security Agency headquarters in Ft. Meade Maryland

Pho's case is noteworthy not only because it is one of several significant breaches at the NSA but also because he was using anti-virus software from a Russian firm on his computer - software the agency never deployed on its computers for fear it could enable Russian government spying.

Nghia Hoang Pho, 67, pleaded guilty in a United States district court in Baltimore on Friday to one count of willful retention of national defense information.

Pho reportedly faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. He declined to give further details about the case.

Pho began work with the NSA in 2006, when he joined the agency's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group as a developer.

Pho received a variety of security clearances during his time with the NSA and had access to national defense information and other classified documents.

A member of the US National Security Agency's elite hacking team has been charged with illegally removing top secret materials, in an embarrassing breach for the crucial electronic espionage body.

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Former National Security Agency employee Nghia H. Pho, 67, of Maryland, pleaded guilty in US District Court for the District of Maryland to one count of willful retention of national defense information, according to charges unsealed on Friday through a US Department of Justice statement.

The charges come on the heels of another government investigation in relation to a larger breach of NSA security, in which the NSA's hacking tools were released to the public a year ago by an unidentified group called the Shadow Brokers, Wired reported.

According to a court document, from 2010 to March 2015, Pho removed classified material in hard copy and digital form. It is further alleged by USA government sources that Russian spies were able to get their hands on the top-secret code via the antivirus package, although Kaspersky denies any direct involvement.

He was the third NSA employee charged in the past two years for taking home top-secret information.

Pho is scheduled to be sentenced in April in US district court in Baltimore.

Kaspersky executives have repeatedly denied allegations that the company is working with Russian intelligence. In 2013, Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor who worked for Booz Allen, stole a cache of agency documents which he turned over to the news media. Harold Martin, an NSA contractor, was indicted in February for stealing up to 50 terabytes of data during a 20 year period, The Times said. Now he's pleading guilty to a federal crime.

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