Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A former National Security Agency employee was sentenced Tuesday to nearly six years in prison for keeping classified information in his home.
Nghia Hoang Pho, 68, was sentenced to 66 months in prison and three years of supervised release for the willful retention of classified national defense information after he removed "massive troves of highly classified national defense information" without authorization and stored it at his home in Maryland, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
"Pho's intentional, reckless and illegal retention of highly classified information over the course of almost five years placed at risk our intelligence community's capabilities and methods, rendering some of them unusable," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said.
Pho worked as a developer in Tailored Access Operations at the NSA beginning in 2006 and held various security clearances including Top Secret and Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information.
During his time with the NSA he worked on highly classified, specialized projects and had access to national defense and classified information. He also received training about the proper handling, marking, transportation and storage of information, was warned of the consequences for unauthorized treatment of the materials, and signed numerous non-disclosure agreements stating he understood the conditions.
Pho's plea agreement states he removed and held U.S. government property, including documents and writings that contained national defense information classified as Top Secret and SCI in both hard copy and digital form in his home, with the knowledge he wasn't authorized to do so.
"Removing and retaining such highly classified material displays a total disregard of Pho's oath and promise to protect our nation's national security," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur. "As a result of his actions, Pho compromised some of our country's most closely held types of intelligence, and forced NSA to abandon important initiatives to protect itself and its operational capabilities, at great economic and operational cost."