By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 14, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - A state district court jury has awarded $4.3 million
in punitive damages to a fired Sandia National Laboratories
cybersecurity analyst who went to federal authorities with information
about national security breaches.
The jury determined Tuesday that the handling of Shawn Carpenter's
firing was "malicious, willful, reckless, wanton, fraudulent or in bad
In addition to the punitive damages, the jury awarded him $35,661 for
lost wages and benefits, $1,875 for counseling costs and $350,000 for
emotional distress, the Albuquerque Journal reported in a copyright
Carpenter cried as the verdict was read by Judge Linda Vanzi. He was
later hugged by jurors when he went into the jury room with his
attorneys to talk about the case.
In a statement, Sandia said, "We are disappointed with the verdict but
still maintain that when employees step beyond clear boundaries in a
national security setting there should be consequences."
An appeal is under consideration, lab officials said.
Jurors found that Carpenter had been fired in violation of public policy
that favors the reporting of stolen security information to appropriate
His job involved finding breaches in Sandia's computer networks. He
followed the trail of hackers around the world in 2004 and discovered
stolen documents about troop movements, body armor and more. He
testified that his bosses told him to concern himself only with Sandia.
Eventually, he shared his findings with the FBI.
Carpenter told supervisors he was working with an outside agency, but it
wasn't until the FBI talked to Sandia counterintelligence did the lab
fully learn of his work. Three months later, he was fired.
Carpenter is now working with top secret clearance for a State
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