Ex-NSA worker guilty in documents case

Waldorf man, 34, is convicted of illegally storing classified papers in his home

December 16, 2005|By MATTHEW DOLAN | MATTHEW DOLAN,SUN REPORTER

A former National Security Agency employee wept as a federal jury found him guilty yesterday of illegally storing classified papers at his home after he left the nation's largest intelligence agency.

The conviction could result in a prison sentence of 15 years.

Kenneth W. Ford Jr., 34, of Waldorf was charged last year in U.S. District Court with possessing classified NSA material and making a false statement on a job application for a government contractor. Jury deliberations started late Wednesday after a trial that lasted more than two weeks in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

In the courtroom yesterday, Ford wailed and rocked in his chair when jury announced its verdict. "I didn't do nothin'," he shouted. The jury deliberated about four hours, and one juror wept after the verdict.

Prosecutors think Ford took the material home before his last day of work in December 2003. His home was raided in January 2004 after the NSA got a tip about the material, which included manuals about NSA computers and electronic networks. He confessed to the FBI but later claimed the statement was made under duress.

After the verdict, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, "When government employees are trusted with access to classified documents, they are obligated to protect that information and preserve our national security."

Ford is scheduled to be sentenced March 1.

It was unclear why he held on to the material, which was in boxes marked top secret and was never fully revealed publicly in court.

Prosecutors told jurors that Ford might have kept the manuals for use at a future job with a private contractor and implied that his arrest might have stopped him from trying to sell the material for profit.

matthew.dolan@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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