A former NATO employee was sentenced for seven years in jail by the German court for spying after the IT expert and copying secret data in order to sell it to a foreign intelligence service.
Identified as Manfred K., the 61-year-old man had worked for the transatlantic military alliance at the US airbase of Ramstein in Germany but left his job after a dispute.
The court found “The disclosure of the files would allow a potential enemy of NATO to gain access to the secret network of NATO”.
Court rejected Manfred’s claim that he was trying to point out security gaps when he copied the data and hid it on USB memory sticks in his kitchen and basement.
The court in the western city of Koblenz found that the man copied passwords, server locations and other information for NATO computer systems that would have enabled a cyber attack.
The IT expert, who had worked for NATO for more than 30 years, copied the data in March 2012 and failed in an attempt to obtain more in June but left NATO shortly afterward. He was been in detention since his arrest in August 2012.
Andreas Voelpel, presiding judge said that the data were the “crown jewels” and “operative heart” of the system and would have allowed a foreign power to launch a cyber attack with devastating impact.
According to the Court, Chinese or Russian intelligence services were the suspected potential takers for the data.
The defendant had earlier denied the charge, saying “I was never a traitor. I am not and never was an enemy of NATO, only of the security sloppiness of employees.”
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