Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Information

  • Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Information

Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Information

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.

The court documents don't mention it, but Pho appears to be the NSA employee at the heart of the spying accusations swirling around the Moscow-based security firm Kaspersky Lab.

On Friday, the 67-year-old Nghia Hoang Pho pleaded guilty to removing the top-secret data and storing it in his Maryland home.

Pho pleaded guilty to one count of willful retention of national defense information, which prosecutors said carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

An elite National Security Agency hacker has pleaded guilty to illegally taking his work home - and in the process, to have inadvertently provided the Russian government with highly sensitive U.S. hacking tools.

The US government didn't see it that way and accused the Russian antivirus vendor of conspiring with Russian intelligence to actively search computers for classified material on goal.

"Beginning in 2010 and continuing through March 2015, Pho removed and retained USA government documents and writings that contained national defense information, including information classified as Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information", the US Department of Justice said in disclosing Friday's guilty plea. "Pho removed and retained US government documents and writings that contained national defense information, including information classified as Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information". The staffer had antivirus software from Kaspersky Lab on his home computer network, and the software scooped up the top secret information as part of its virus scanning process, the Journal reported.

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 US report and mailing it to a news organization. The company has acknowledged finding N.S.A. hacking software on a customer's computer and removing it, but says the material was subsequently destroyed. United States officials then banned the use of Kaspersky products on USA government computers.

The NSA has not commented on the report, but the Department of Homeland Security subsequently issued a directive banning all USA agencies from using Kaspersky products.

U.S District Judge George L. Russell III has scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 6.

Edward Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency employee and NSA contractor, leaked a trove of classified documents to the media in 2013, but has avoided prosecution after receiving asylum for Russian Federation.