DOJ Allows Three U.S. Intelligence Contractors To Pay Their Way Out of Criminal Charges After Being Caught Working With Foreign Government To Hack U.S. Cell Phone Systems

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by Sundance

This thread might be well worth pulling for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the DOJ National Security Division allowing three former Intelligence Community Contractors to pay their way out of criminal charges. {Main DOJ Press Release Here}  It appears that criminal operatives that come from within the Fourth Branch of government are allowed to get a “first-of-its-kind resolution.”

Apparently it looks like three men Marc Baier, 49, Ryan Adams, 34, and a former U.S. citizen, Daniel Gericke, 40, all former employees of the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) or the U.S. military, left the contractor employment of the USIC in 2016 and went to work for the United Arab Emirates.   It appears the three were experts in computer intrusion; meaning they were hackers for the U.S. government working inside the intelligence system.

When they went to work for the UAE, they helped develop hacking tools that were later used to hack into U.S. cell phone networks and operating systems.   They were supposed to register as free-lance hackers, they didn’t; and they were not allowed to help foreign governments hack into U.S. systems, which they did.  When the FBI and U.S. authorities caught them, the three hackers then worked out a deal with the Dept of Justice to pay a fine and give up their security clearances.

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DOJ –  On Sept. 7, U.S. citizens, Marc Baier, 49, and Ryan Adams, 34, and a former U.S. citizen, Daniel Gericke, 40, all former employees of the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) or the U.S. military, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that restricts their future activities and employment and requires the payment of $1,685,000 in penalties to resolve a Department of Justice investigation regarding violations of U.S. export control, computer fraud and access device fraud laws. The Department filed the DPA today, along with a criminal information alleging that the defendants conspired to violate such laws.

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According to court documents, the defendants worked as senior managers at a United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)-based company (U.A.E. CO) that supported and carried out computer network exploitation (CNE) operations (i.e., “hacking”) for the benefit of the U.A.E government between 2016 and 2019. Despite being informed on several occasions that their work for U.A.E. CO, under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), constituted a “defense service” requiring a license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the defendants proceeded to provide such services without a license.

These services included the provision of support, direction and supervision in the creation of sophisticated “zero-click” computer hacking and intelligence gathering systems – i.e., one that could compromise a device without any action by the target. U.A.E. CO employees whose activities were supervised by and known to the defendants thereafter leveraged these zero-click exploits to illegally obtain and use access credentials for online accounts issued by U.S. companies, and to obtain unauthorized access to computers, like mobile phones, around the world, including in the United States.

“This agreement is the first-of-its-kind resolution of an investigation into two distinct types of criminal activity: providing unlicensed export-controlled defense services in support of computer network exploitation, and a commercial company creating, supporting and operating systems specifically designed to allow others to access data without authorization from computers worldwide, including in the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Hackers-for-hire and those who otherwise support such activities in violation of U.S. law should fully expect to be prosecuted for their criminal conduct.” (read more)

Three orcs trained within the Fourth Branch system, left with their credentials and went to work on their own to make more money.  They got caught using their USIC skills to attack companies inside the United States.  Those who guard the Fourth Branch, gave them a fine and revoked their credentials.  A special tier of justice for a special class of criminal.


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