A Florida man contracted to perform IT work for the Pentagon has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to crimes connected to the hacking of a military email account and theft of sensitive files.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced Christopher Glenn on Friday for his actions, which prosecutors said caused “serious damage to national security.”
Glenn, 35, was hired in 2012 to perform technical support at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras where government attorneys said he gained access to base commander’s email account and made copies of thousands of messages and hundreds of sensitive documents.
He was arrested in February 2014 and charged with eight counts, including theft of government property, computer intrusion, structuring financial transactions and immigration fraud. He pleaded guilty in January to willful retention of classified national defense information pursuant to the Espionage Act, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and one count of conspiracy to commit naturalization fraud.
Court documents in the case suggested Glenn had copied intelligence reports and military plans from the hacked account and then stored them covertly in an encrypted folder.
Gerald Parsons, an Army counterintelligence expert, testified that Glenn had been reading books on espionage and digital encryption, but was unable to prevent authorities from discovering the stolen files, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Defense lawyers said their client was “something of a technological hoarder” and never intended to exploit the stolen data for monetary gain or purposes of espionage, but Judge Marra disagreed, calling Glenn’s actions “very serious” and driven by maliciousness or greed.
“I think betraying your country is one of the most egregious things a citizen can do,” Judge Marra said in court, the Sun-Sentinel reported. “He either did it for profit or because he wanted to hurt the United States.”
“Christopher Glenn exploited his position as a cleared military contractor and systems administrator to steal classified U.S. military secrets,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin said. “In doing so, he violated the unique trust placed in him by the Department of Defense. Insider threats by trusted employees who exploit computer access are a significant danger to U.S. national security and this sentencing shows it will not be tolerated.”
As part of his plea deal, Glenn admitted to having conspired with his wife, Khadraa Glenn, to commit naturalization fraud by fabricating documents and filing them to immigration services. The wife was sentenced in October for her part in the scheme.