Ex-NSA Employee Admits Guilt in Taking Home Classified Files


It is still unclear as to what kind of classified information Pho took from the spy agency.

But he had installed on his home computer antivirus software made by Kaspersky Lab, a top Russian software company, and Russian hackers are believed to have exploited the software to steal the documents, the officials said. The aggressive hacking of American targets by the Russian government, including the Democratic National Committee during last year's election campaign, is a high-priority concern for the United States, and forensic information from Mr. Pho's computer might provide useful clues.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally charged a former NSA employee for taking classified documents home. That analysis matched the new code with code Kaspersky had previously connected to what it has nicknamed the Equation Group - widely believed to be to NSA's elite Tailored Access Operations division, where Pho worked. Pho was involved in "highly classified" projects and had access to government computers.

Nghia Pho, 67, from Maryland, who worked for the NSA's elite hacking unit from 2006 to 2016, has been charged with secretly taking classified data from the NSA over a five-year period.

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.

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

In August 2016, Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, was arrested by the FBI after federal prosecutors said the former NSA contractor illegally removed highly classified information and stored the material in his home and auto. 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 guilty plea was announced by Stephen Schenning, acting USA attorney for the District of Maryland; Dana Boente, acting assistant attorney general for national security; and Gordon Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Baltimore Field Office.

Some of the classified files were transferred onto Pho's personal computer at some point and likely compromised by Russian hackers, The New York Times reported Friday, citing government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Times reported that Pho is now free, while awaiting sentencing in April 2018.

The case is one of several major breaches at the NSA since the Edward Snowden disclosures in 2013. Former NSA contractor Harold Martin was indicted in February on charges related to hoarding secrets at his home near agency headquarters in Ft.

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