An Employee Of The State And Justice Department From Maryland Is Accused Of Espionage: Know More Here

A Maryland man who served as an independent contractor for the State and Justice Departments is now charged with espionage for allegedly passing material to a foreign intelligence official using his “top secret” security clearance.

An Employee Of The State And Justice Department From Maryland Is Accused Of Espionage: Know More Here

Abraham Lemma, a 50-year-old Silver Spring resident and naturalised U.S. citizen of Ethiopian descent, was charged on Thursday as a result of his alleged actions while working as a management analyst for the Justice Department and a State Department IT administrator, according to the Justice Department.

“In these communications, Lemma expressed an interest and willingness to assist the foreign official in providing information,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “In one communication, the foreign official stated, ‘[i]t’s time to continue ur support.’ Lemma responded, ‘Roger that!’”

Lemma is charged with sending a representative of a foreign intelligence agency sensitive information about the nation’s defence using an encrypted app. Although the nation in question was not identified in court records, Ethiopia was according to The Washington Post. The DOJ did acknowledge Lemma’s Ethiopian ancestry.

Between December 19, 2022, and August 7, 2023, “Lemma copied classified information from Intelligence Reports and deleted the classification markings from them,” according to the DOJ. Lemma then allegedly took the materials, which had been marked as top secret and secret, from secure State Department facilities.

“The materials related to a specific country and/or geographic region. Lemma accessed, copied, removed, and retained this information without authorization,” the DOJ said.

Lemma allegedly received a “top secret” security clearance and was allowed access to secret systems as part of his employment, according to the prosecution.

He has been accused of conspiring to obtain or deliver information about national defence to help a foreign government, gathering or delivering information about national defence to help a foreign government without authorization, and wilfully possessing such information.

The Justice Department says the espionage charges carry “a potential sentence of death or any term of years up to life, and the retention charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years.”

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