Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A former U.S. Air Force contractor pleaded guilty to stealing about 2,500 pages of classified documents, the Justice Department announced.
Izaak Vincent Kemp admitted that he illegally took 112 classified documents during his employment between 2016 and 2019 at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, both located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
The AFRL oversees development of advanced weapons, while the NASIC analyzes intelligence on foreign air and space operations and weapons.
Kemp, a Fairborn, Ohio, resident, had a Top Secret security clearance, and stored the documents, classified as Secret, at his home.
They were found during a search in 2019, a Fairborn police warrant alleging that the home was a "marijuana growing facility." The documents were marked "Special Access Programs," indicating that they were stored in a protective environment.
"During a voluntary interview, which took place during execution of a search warrant, Kemp admitted to printing the classified materials at work and bringing them home for storage," FBI Special Agent Brandt Pangburn said at the time.
Kemp, who has advanced degrees in science and no prior criminal record, pleaded guilty on Thursday, the Justice Department said in a Friday announcement.
No motive was given, and the Justice Department statement did not suggest that Kemp was offering the documents to enemy states.
Kemp could face a maximum of five years in prison for unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents if convicted.
In 2019, a Defense Intelligence Agency official, who intended to sell defense secrets to China, pleaded guilty to a similar crime. The same year, two former CIA officials were convicted of selling state secrets to China.