- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Federal attorneys have charged a former security official at the National Institute of Standards and Technology with trying to make meth inside a laboratory on the agency’s Gaithersburg, Maryland, campus.

Christopher Bartley, 41, was charged Monday with one count of attempting to manufacture methamphetamine by prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

The defendant’s attorney, Steven Van Grack, said his client has an “immaculate background” and an “honorable record,” which includes service in the U.S. Army, and he will plead guilty on Friday to the single charge.

Mr. Bartley had worked as a security official at NIST headquarters for 13 years until resigning from his role as police lieutenant on July 19. He suffered minor injuries the night before from an explosion that occurred in a special projects facility on the campus, around 25 miles north of Washington, D.C.

Following a nearly monthlong investigation, prosecutors said this week that Mr. Bartley “knowingly and intentionally attempt to manufacture a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance” on July 18.

Law enforcement sources told a D.C.-area NBC News affiliate that pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient used in meth production, and a recipe for the drug were found in the lab.

Mr. Van Grack told the network that Mr. Bartley had been conducting an “unauthorized training experiment” at the time of the blast but “clearly failed.”

NIST has been fully supporting the ongoing investigation and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as requested,” NIST spokeswoman Gail Porter said Tuesday.

NIST and a House committee with oversight over the tech agency both issued statements in the aftermath of the explosion acknowledging the need to reconsider campus security.

Mr. Bartley faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, but he could receive a substantially lesser sentence on account of his guilty plea and cooperation with authorities.

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