The Justice Department has charged IT contractor, Abraham Teklu Lemma, with espionage for allegedly transmitting classified State Department information to a foreign country. Lemma accessed numerous Intelligence Reports unauthorized, transmitting them via a secure app and received over $100,000 for the information.
The Justice Department has charged [21 SEP 2023] IT contractor Abraham Teklu Lemma with espionage. A U.S. citizen and foreign national, Lemma allegedly transmitted classified information from the State Department to a foreign country. He worked as an evening help desk technician for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The information included documents, photographs, notes, maps, and satellite imagery.
Between December 19, 2022, and August 7, 2023, Lemma accessed at least 133 Intelligence Reports without authorization. He then allegedly transmitted this information to an unnamed individual in an unnamed country through a secure messaging app. The foreign official advised Lemma on identifying forward-deployed command and logistic centers. Lemma held top-secret clearance since 2020 and obtained a SCI in July 2021.
The complaint reveals that Lemma downloaded over 100 documents containing classified information to CDs and/or DVDs. He was observed taking notes on classified information at his desk in the SCIF. The Justice Department uncovered chat logs showing Lemma discussing specific intelligence information. His account information was accessed in the representative’s country when he was not there.
Lemma allegedly received over $100,000 for the information. He is also employed as a contract management analyst at the Justice Department. The case highlights the risks of insider threats and the need for stringent security measures within government departments. The Justice Department is continuing its investigation into the espionage charges.