State Division contractor charged with espionage

31 State Division contractor charged with espionage

The US Justice Division has charged a former authorities contractor with spying on behalf of an unspecified international state, claiming that he stole “prime secret” materials and handed it to intelligence brokers abroad. 

The DOJ introduced the case on Thursday, charging 50-year-old Abraham Teklu Lemma, a naturalized US citizen born in Ethiopia, with two espionage counts over his alleged position in a “conspiracy to ship nationwide protection data to help a international authorities.”

“Lemma copied categorized data from intelligence studies and deleted the classification markings from them. Lemma then eliminated the data, which was categorized as SECRET and TOP SECRET, from safe services on the Division of State,” officers mentioned. They added that he used “an encrypted software” to ship the info to an worker of a international authorities.

Lemma labored as a non-public contractor for a couple of US federal company, courtroom filings mentioned, and served as an IT administrator for the State Division’s Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis when the alleged crimes occurred. Holding a “prime secret” clearance, his job licensed him to entry categorized supplies beneath sure circumstances, although he was required to hunt formal approval earlier than doing so.

The suspect additionally labored a second job as a “contract administration analyst” for the DOJ, which additionally supplied him entry to some secret recordsdata, the federal government claimed.

Lemma was arrested in late August following a prolonged FBI probe and has remained in federal custody since. In accordance with the Washington Put up, the Bureau was tipped off to the alleged spying scheme after safety opinions within the wake of a significant leak by Massachusetts Nationwide Guardsman Jack Teixeira earlier this 12 months. The incident marked one of many largest intelligence breaches in US historical past, sending officers scrambling to find out how a big trove of secret paperwork wound up on the web.

Along with the 2 espionage counts, which may consequence within the demise penalty if he’s convicted, Lemma was additionally charged individually with the “willful retention of nationwide protection data,” an offense that carries a most punishment of 10 years in jail.

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