NSA employee who brought hacking tools home sentenced to 66 months in prison
The National Security Operations Center at NSA, photographed in 2012—the nerve center of the NSA’s ‘signals intelligence’ monitoring. A former NSA coder has been sentenced to 66 months in prison for bringing home the code that drove much of the NSA’s signals intelligence operations. Nghia Hoang Pho, a 68-year-old former National Security Agency employee who worked in the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division, was sentenced today to 66 months in prison for willful, unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents and material from his workplace—material that included hacking tools that were likely part of the code dumped by the individual or group known as Shadowbrokers in the summer of 2016.
Pho, a naturalized US citizen from Vietnam and a resident of Ellicott City, Maryland, had pleaded guilty to bringing home materials after being caught in a sweep by the NSA following the Shadowbrokers leaks. He will face three years of supervised release after serving his sentence. His attorney had requested home detention.
In a letter sent to the court in March, former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers told Judge George Russell that the materials removed from the NSA by Pho ‘had significant negative impacts on the NSA mission, the NSA workforce, and the Intelligence Community as a whole.’ The materials Pho removed, Rogers wrote, included: