The defendants — Marc Baier, Ryan Adams and Daniel Gericke — are accused of working as senior managers at a UAE-based company that conducted hacking operations on behalf of the government. Prosecutors say the men provided hacking and intelligence-gathering systems that were used to break into computers in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
The Justice Department alleges that the men committed computer fraud and violated export control laws by providing defense services without the required license. The case also appears to be part of a growing trend highlighted earlier this year by the CIA of foreign governments hiring former U.S. intelligence operatives to bolster their own spycraft — a practice officials have said risks exposing U.S. secrets.
“This is a loud statement” that the Justice Department takes such cases seriously, said Bobby Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law who specializes in national security issues.
The charges were filed under a deferred prosecution agreement that, in addition to requiring a $1.68 million payment, will also force the men to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation, to sever any ties with any UAE intelligence or law enforcement agencies and to forego any security clearances. If they comply with those and other terms for three years, the Justice Department will abandon the prosecution.
As part of the agreement, the three men did not dispute any of the facts alleged by prosecutors.
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