informa
2 min read
article

NSA Employee Indicted for Sending Classified Data Outside the Agency

Even the NSA has a malicious insider problem. The employee used his personal emails to send classified data to unauthorized outsiders on 13 different occasions.

A National Security Agency employee is accused of sharing top-secret national security information with an unauthorized individual in the private sector, the US Department of Justice said. The employee was arrested and the indictment unsealed on March 31.

The DoJ indictment alleges the NSA employee, Mark Unkenholz, shared “classified information relating to national defense” on 13 occasions between February 2018 and June 2020 with the individual, who was identified only as “RF.” According to the DoJ, Unkenholz, who held a TOP SECRET/Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearance, was aware person was not entitled to receive the information and that the information “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign information.”

The recipient, RF, also had TOP SECRET/SCI clearance from April 2016 until approximately June 2019, through a company she worked for, but the clearance lapsed when she moved to a new company.

Unkenholz allegedly sent materials while RF was at both companies using his personal email address. Because the personal email address is not considered authorized storage location for classified information, Unkenholz faces 13 counts of willful retention of national defense information on top of the 13 counts of “willful transmission.” Each charge carries a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.