Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Information

3TP EUO

3TP EUO

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, but prosecutors are recommending he serve eight years, according to his attorney, Robert Bonsib.

Pho took the documents home to help him write his resume but hackers are believed to have accessed them through antivirus software made by Kaspersky Lab, The New York Times reported Friday based on interviews with unnamed government officials.

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

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The DOJ says that Pho started taking documents home starting somewhere in 2010 and up until March 2015, when he was caught. Further, Kaspersky Lab has maintained that it does not work in any way with Russian intelligence.

Nghia Pho, a 67-year-old living in Maryland, was a developer for the NSA's hacking corps - Tailored Access Operations (TAO).

The Trump administration ordered federal agencies in September to remove the Kaspersky software from its computers, and Congress has held several hearings on the company. United States officials have said the firm either has ties to Russian intelligence or is forced to share information held on its servers with Russian officials.

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Pho is the same former NSA employee implicated in previous reports involving the Russian government and Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based antivirus vendor accused of being a conduit for the Putin administration's worldwide espionage efforts, both The Times and Reuters reported Friday.

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 objective.

Kaspersky has acknowledged that its software lifted hacking tools from a home computer in 2014, but said it was not part of an intentional effort to steal information from the NSA.

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The National Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland. 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.

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.

Another person named Reality Winner had been a contract worker with the NSA in Georgia before she was arrested in June and charged with providing a single NSA document to The Intercept, according to court documents.

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

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