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December 13, 2018

Former NSA engineer gets five years in prison for taking home secret defense material

September 26, 2018
Nghia Hoang Pho admitted to bringing home top secret information from the NSA. (SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images)

A former National Security Agency engineer was sentenced to more than five years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to keeping top secret U.S. defense material at his home.

Nghia Hoang Pho, 68, was sentenced to five years and six months in prison for the willful retention of national defense information, according to Politico.




Pho, who worked on projects that involved hacking into computers belonging to terrorists and foreign governments, collected a “massive trove” of top secret information, prosecutors said.

Near the close of the hearing, he said that he took the work home because he was trying to get a raise so he would have more money in retirement.

“I admit it but I do not betray the U.S.A.,” he said in English, according to Politico.. “I do not betray this country. … I do not send anything to anybody or on the internet. I do not make profit on this information. … I cannot damage this country.”

U.S. District Court Judge George Russell, who sentenced Pho Tuesday, compared the Vietnamese man’s five years to top government officials who have received far less punishment, including former CIA Director David Patreaus; Patreaus admitted to bringing him classified information and sharing it with his mistress and official biographer, Paula Broadwell, but was sentenced to just two years of probation and a $100,000 fine.

“Did he do one day in prison?” Russell said during the hearing. “Not one day. … What happened there? I don’t know. The powerful win over the powerless? … The people at the top can, like, do whatever they want to do and walk away.”




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