Defense contractor admits breaching top secret U.S. Army computer

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bret Ward (left), network administrator, and Staff Sgt. Wesley Briceland, Strategic Communications technician, both assigned to the 72nd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, 451st Air Expeditionary Group, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, images a computer for use on the network on May 17, 2009, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bret Ward (left), network administrator, and Staff Sgt. Wesley Briceland, Strategic Communications technician, both assigned to the 72nd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, 451st Air Expeditionary Group, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, images a computer for use on the network on May 17, 2009, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bret Ward (left), network administrator, and Staff Sgt. Wesley Briceland, Strategic Communications technician, both assigned to the 72nd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, 451st Air Expeditionary Group, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, images a computer for use on the network on May 17, 2009, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

A former government contractor from Westfield, Massachusetts pleaded guilty to damaging an Army computer and lying about serving with the People’s Liberation Army of China.

Wei Chen was employed by a defense contractor as a computer analyst. To get the job and the “secret security clearance” it comes with, Chen had to fill out a questionnaire that inquired about his prior service with a foreign military.

According to Mass Live, Chen lied about his service in the Chinese Army when he filled out the questionnaire.

“He provided that false answer in order to get the job,” at Accellion, Inc., Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Bookbinder told a federal judge.

Lori H. Levinson, the lawyer representing Chen, said Chen was drafted into the Chinese Army before he graduated high school in 1971.

“He really wanted this job,” she said.

Chen was working at an Army base in Kuwait and was about to move to another base in the Middle East when he used unauthorized thumb drives to access some classified information.

The prosecutor said there was no evidence of espionage, which is why Chen isn’t facing any espionage charges. According to the prosecutor, Chen simply broke rules in place to maintain national security.

Chen didn’t agree with some of the nuances of the government’s interpretation of the facts during the plea hearing.

“Damaging a computer … that’s a very big category … I did not delete entire logs,” Chen said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Bookbinder said that Chen deleted certain files to hide the fact that he had copied certain information to his thumb drive, which impaired the integrity of the data.

Bookbinder said the deleted files fall under the definition of “damage” in the federal statute.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Chen faces six to 12 months in a federal prison.

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