Ex-NSA Worker Guilty of Taking Documents
Friday, December 16, 2005
A former National Security Agency employee who packed cardboard boxes with sensitive documents and stored them at his Waldorf home was convicted yesterday on charges of unlawfully possessing classified information and making a false statement to a U.S. government agency.
Kenneth W. Ford Jr., 34, was arrested in January 2004 after FBI agents, tipped off by a former girlfriend, found materials containing classified information throughout his house, including in his kitchen and a bedroom closet. Ford worked as a computer specialist at the agency from June 2001 to late 2003.
At Ford's trial in federal court in Greenbelt, prosecutor Mariclaire Rourke of the Justice Department's counterespionage section said Ford acknowledged to FBI agents that he took the documents home, telling them he wanted to use them as reference points for his new job with Northrop Grumman Corp., a federal government contractor. During the trial, Ford maintained that the statement was coerced.
Ford was also convicted of making a false statement while applying for a security clearance to work at Lockheed Martin. According to prosecutors, Ford stated on a form in October 2004 that he had been falsely arrested by the FBI and that there were no charges pending against him.
Ford faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for possession of classified information and five years imprisonment for making a false statement. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte scheduled sentencing for March 1.
"When government employees are trusted with access to classified documents, they are obligated to protect that information and preserve our national security," Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.
Efforts to reach Ford's lawyer, Spencer M. Hecht, were not successful last night.