An FBI employee with a top-secret security clearance has been indicted on charges that she illegally stored several national security documents and other national security information at home over more than a decade, the Justice Department stated on Friday.
Kendra Kingsbury, a 48-year-old from Dodge City, Kansas, is accused of taking a range of materials between 2004 and 2017, many of which were marked secret because they discussed intelligence sources and methods containing information about operatives such as a suspected associate of Osama bin Laden. The files were from 2005 and 2006, when bin Laden, who engineered the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was alive and on the run from U.S. forces.
The grand jury indictment, filed in the Western District of Missouri, alleges that Kingsbury illegally removed documents she was granted access to at work and stored them at home. She is charged with two counts of gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
“The documents include information about al-Qaeda members on the African continent, including a suspected associate of Usama bin Laden,” the indictment reads. In addition, there are documents regarding the activities of emerging terrorists and their efforts to establish themselves in support of al-Qaeda in Africa,” the indictment reads.
Though Kingsbury held a top-secret security clearance and was assigned to squads covering a range of crimes and threats, she did not have a “need to know” the information in most of the documents, prosecutors say. However, the indictment does not provide a reason for why Kingsbury mishandled the documents, nor does it accuse her of having transmitted the information to anyone else. The Justice Department declined to elaborate beyond the indictment on Friday.
“As an intelligence analyst for the FBI, the defendant was entrusted with access to sensitive government materials. Insider threats are a significant danger to our national security, and we will continue to work relentlessly to identify, pursue and prosecute individuals who pose such a threat,” John Demers, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said in a statement.
In 2018, the FBI collaborated with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to set up an updated framework meant to guide the U.S. government’s National Insider Threat Task Force (NITTF). Last month the NITTF issued an advisory on protecting against insider threats to critical infrastructure entities, including those with work touching on the U.S. electric grid, telecommunications networks, and hospitals.
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