Home Feature News Federal contractor charged with sending labeled US data to Ethiopia | CNN Politics

Federal contractor charged with sending labeled US data to Ethiopia | CNN Politics

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Federal contractor charged with sending labeled US data to Ethiopia | CNN Politics

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CNN
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A federal contractor who labored for State and Justice departments has been charged with sending labeled US data to Ethiopia, in line with newly unsealed courtroom paperwork.

Abraham Teklu Lemma, 50, from Maryland, faces three costs, together with gathering or delivering protection data to assist a overseas authorities and unauthorized possession of nationwide protection data and willfully retaining it. His arrest final month was stored underneath seal till Thursday.

Lemma is a naturalized US citizen from Ethiopia, in line with courtroom paperwork. He has labored at numerous US authorities companies since 2019 – together with as a assist desk technician on the State Division and as an analyst for the Justice Division.

The Justice Division’s inspector normal, and the State Division’s safety service are investigating the matter.

A lawyer for Lemma just isn’t but publicly listed.

His authorities work, prosecutors say, gave him a safety clearance entry to extremely labeled data, which he illegally copied and shared with a overseas agent.

Since final summer time, Lemma repeatedly used that entry to seek for labeled intelligence reviews associated to an unnamed African nation the place Lemma beforehand had citizenship. Although courtroom paperwork solely consult with the nation because the “Related Nation,” CNN has confirmed the nation is Ethiopia.

Between December 2022 and August 2023, Lemma “copied and pasted data from not less than 85 Intelligence Studies relating to many matters—nearly all of which relate to the Related Nation,” courtroom paperwork allege. He additionally allegedly accessed not less than 48 further intelligence reviews and printed and downloaded extremely labeled data from these reviews.

On not less than three events, courtroom paperwork say, Lemma copied intelligence reviews onto CDs and DVDs, downloaded a number of objects labeled as prime secret or secret and deleted the labeled markings on these paperwork.

He additionally despatched labeled data to an agent from the intelligence service in Ethiopia, together with satellite tv for pc imagery and paperwork over an encrypted messaging app, courtroom paperwork say.

The agent allegedly instructed Lemma what data to search for, and the 2 mentioned “army actions of a insurgent group concerned in an armed battle in opposition to” the Ethiopian authorities.

Messages cited by investigators in courtroom paperwork counsel that, throughout a go to to Ethiopia earlier this yr, Lemma and the agent agreed to satisfy at a lodge within the nation’s capital. A number of instances throughout his journey to the nation, Lemma allegedly accessed and made bodily copies of labeled US materials by means of the State Division.

Financial institution information obtained by investigators present that Lemma, after downloading labeled data and after his visits to the nation, deposited cash in a number of batches to totally different banks.

The State Division made the invention {that a} contractor was sending labeled data to Ethiopia as a part of a “self-initiated 60-day Inside Safety Overview of the Division of State’s Prime Secret/Delicate Compartmented Data (TS/SCI) community, techniques, and purposes,” State Division spokesperson Matt Miller mentioned Thursday.

The Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis assessment was initiated following the arrest of Jack Teixeira, Miller mentioned.

“Throughout this assessment, data was uncovered indicating {that a} Division of State data know-how contractor might have eliminated, retained and transmitted labeled nationwide protection data with out authorization,” Miller mentioned.

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