Ex-contractor gets two years' prison for damaging data

Malicious insider attack earns former contractor a jail term

A former US Transportation Security Administration contractor will serve two years in prison for damaging sensitive government databases, shortly before he was to lose his job. The databases he tampered with were used to identify terrorists as they try to enter the US.

James Duchak, 47, pleaded guilty in October to charges that he messed with code at the TSA's Colorado Springs Operations Center in October 2009. Prosecutors say he tried to damage the TSA's vetting database, just a week after learning that he was to be let go from his job.

Duchak deleted important code, used to properly format the birth dates of people entered into the system.

Duchak had been working as a data analyst at the TSA for about five years at the time of the incident. His job was to update TSA servers with data scraped from the government's terrorist screening database and the United States Marshals Service Warrant Information Network.

The former contractor's replacement — who Duchak was training at the time of the incindent — noticed the code changes, and the TSA shut down the database immediately.

Duchak had faced a maximum of 10 years in prison on the charges. In addition to the two-year federal sentence, he must pay US$60,000 in restitution to the TSA and serve three years of supervised release following his prison term.

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Tags james duchakUS Transportation Security Administration

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