Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Former US NSA employee pleads guilty to taking classified documents

Former US NSA employee pleads guilty to taking classified documents

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.

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.

Pho, who was born in Vietnam and is a naturalized US citizen, is free pending his sentencing, which is set for April 6, Bonsib said.

Unidentified officials from the United States government, who could only speak about the classified details on the condition they remain anonymous, said that Pho took the classified documents home with him to help him rewrite his resume, the Times reported.

The chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab Eugene Kaspersky says he's ready to have his company's source code exa
Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Information

"Pho also worked on highly classified, specialized projects", the statement said.

The Department of Homeland Security in September ordered federal agencies to start removing Kaspersky software from their computers. USA officials have said that Kaspersky Lab, by virtue of being located in Moscow, is subject to Russian surveillance.

Sixty-seven-year-old Nghia Hoang Pho admitted to a willful retention charge, which was mostly kept under wraps due to the sensitive nature of the crime, according to Reuters. Kaspersky has repeatedly denied the allegations but acknowledged its software in 2014 took NSA code for a hacking tool from a customer's computer before its chief executive, Eugene Kaspersky, ordered the code destroyed.

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

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And in 2013, former contractor Edward Snowden pilfered secrets about NSA's surveillance programs and shared them with journalists. Further, Kaspersky Lab has maintained that it does not work in any way with Russian intelligence.

The NSA has wrestled with several similar cases in recent years.

In June another NSA contractor, Reality Winner, 25, was charged with leaking classified material about Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election to a news outlet.

"Any conversations regarding this case will be made in the courtroom during the sentencing", his attorney, Robert Bonsib, told Reuters.

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The agency's loss of control over its sensitive hacking tools has caused great concern at its Fort Meade headquarters, at the Pentagon and in Congress. Harold T. Martin III, a Glen Burnie man and former NSA contractor, was indicted this year after being accused of stealing a "breathtaking" number of classified documents.

A former employee of an elite government hacking group pleaded guilty to illegally taking classified documents.

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