A computer consultant working for the FBI is facing jail time for accessing secret passwords of Director Robert Mueller and others in the agency, the Associated Press reports on MSNBC.com.
Joseph Thomas Colon, 28, lost his job and security clearance with the FBI after admitting that he exceeded his authorized computer access on four occasions in 2004, the AP reports.
He pleaded guilty on all four counts, and prosecutors recommended about a yearlong prison sentence, according to the AP. Sentencing was set for July 13.
According to court documents, Colon said he and FBI IT employees in Springfield, Ill., were frustrated that bureaucratic delays kept them from carrying out even “routine and mundane tasks” in the office, the AP reports.
One worker gave him a password that enabled him to bypass the delays and got him into a secret user name and password file, according to the AP. On that basis, Colon’s lawyer is asking for probation instead of prison time for Colon.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson told the AP that the agency has bolstered its security systems to help prevent unauthorized access. The FBI has spent almost $600 million to install a secure computer network—a process that began before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001—although Mueller abandoned the final phase of the project after consultants said it was obsolete, the AP reports.
— Compiled by Dave Gradijan
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