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posted by martyb on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the me-and-my-shadow...brokers dept.

NSA employee who brought hacking tools home sentenced to 66 months in prison

Nghia Hoang Pho, a 68-year-old former National Security Agency employee who worked in the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division, was sentenced today to 66 months in prison for willful, unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents and material from his workplace—material that included hacking tools that were likely part of the code dumped by the individual or group known as Shadowbrokers in the summer of 2016.

Pho, a naturalized US citizen from Vietnam and a resident of Ellicott City, Maryland, had pleaded guilty to bringing home materials after being caught in a sweep by the NSA following the Shadowbrokers leaks. He will face three years of supervised release after serving his sentence. His attorney had requested home detention.

In a letter sent to the court in March, former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers told Judge George Russell that the materials removed from the NSA by Pho "had significant negative impacts on the NSA mission, the NSA workforce, and the Intelligence Community as a whole." The materials Pho removed, Rogers wrote, included:

[S]ome of NSA's most sophisticated, hard-to-achieve, and important techniques of collecting [signals intelligence] from sophisticated targets of the NSA, including collection that is crucial to decision makers when answering some of the Nation's highest-priority questions... Techniques of the kind Mr. Pho was entrusted to protect, yet removed from secure space, are force multipliers, allowing for intelligence collection in a multitude of environments around the globe and spanning a wide range of security topics. Compromise of one technique can place many opportunities for intelligence collection and national security insight at risk.

Previously: Former NSA Employee Nghia Pho Pleads Guilty to Willful Retention of National Defense Information

Related: "The Shadow Brokers" Claim to Have Hacked NSA
The Shadow Brokers Identify Hundreds of Targets Allegedly Hacked by the NSA
Former NSA Contractor May Have Stolen 75% of TAO's Elite Hacking Tools
Former NSA Contractor Harold Martin Indicted


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ikanreed on Thursday September 27 2018, @05:48PM (3 children)

    by ikanreed (3164) on Thursday September 27 2018, @05:48PM (#740900) Journal

    Do you know the definition of the word "willful"? Because that's sure in the summary, and sure the explicit reason given for dismissal in one of the cases you described.

    I'm all for holding leaders to a higher standard than workers rather than the other way around, but you have to know you're full of shit with that comparison.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @05:57PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @05:57PM (#740907)

    So all he has to do is say "I didn't know it was illegal" and he gets off like he was a high-profile "public servant"?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by ikanreed on Thursday September 27 2018, @06:19PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Thursday September 27 2018, @06:19PM (#740921) Journal

      No, if he had carried files that he reasonably thought didn't contain classified materials and some small, mostly irrelevant classified materials got mixed in unintentionally.

      That's pretty much the standard, you know, this tiny itty bitty thing that the legal profession calls "mens rea." You know, intending to do something you ought to know you shouldn't. Ignorance of the law isn't an excuse, but ignorance of circumstance is.

      What galls me about this whole thing is that I genuinely believe a perfunctory prison sentence for her violating transparency laws was fairly appropriate(and would have set great precedent for the openly corrupt bastards we have now), but you fucks are so dead set on chasing the your own tail of making every goddamn thing a national security military-worshiping bullshit, government accountability fell off the table as a factor pretty much immediately.

      I'm not a lawyer, but I actually read these laws when the case came up, and willful is strewn throughout them, to make accidental transport of classified material not a crime.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28 2018, @12:02AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28 2018, @12:02AM (#741109)

    This stuff should be leaked anyway. I'd like to see every single one of the NSA's secrets uncovered. Fuck that corrupt, anti-constitutional organization.