By STEPHEN MANNING
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
March 30, 2006
GREENBELT, Md. -- A former National Security Agency computer analyst
was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday for taking home
classified documents and storing them in boxes in his kitchen after he
left his job.
The federal sentencing guidelines called for at least nine years
behind bars for Kenneth Ford, Jr., 34. But U.S. District Judge Peter
Messitte departed from the guidelines because prosecutors never
claimed Ford was engaged in espionage.
He cited similar cases in which defendants received light punishments,
such as former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, who was given
community service and a fine for taking records from the National
Messitte also noted instances in which defendants who pleaded guilty
to passing documents to other countries received sentences far below
the punishment Ford faced under the guidelines.
Federal agents arrested Ford in 2004 and found two boxes of computer
records in his home. At the time, Ford acknowledged he took the
records when he left his job at the super-secret intelligence agency,
based at Fort Meade. He later claimed he was framed by an
A jury convicted him in December on the document charge and on a count
of making a false statement for not properly revealing the
investigation on an application for a job with defense contractor
Lockheed Martin Corp.
No clear motive was ever established in the case and prosecutors did
not accuse Ford of trying to sell or distribute the documents.
However, federal prosecutor David Salem said Thursday that the removal
of the records from the NSA posed a grave security risk.
"The disclosure of information Mr. Ford had in his kitchen could have
jeopardized millions of dollars of worth of programs at the NSA,"
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