DOJ fines NSA hackers who assisted UAE in attacks on dissidents
The Justice Department has announced a deal with three former US Intelligence operatives that allows them to pay a fine rather than face jail time for breaking multiple laws when conducting offensive hacking for the government of the United Arab Emirates. The deal is controversial, as it allows the three US operatives to avoid prison sentences even after violating US export control, committing computer fraud, and breaking access device fraud laws. The individuals, Marc Baier, Ryan Adams, and Daniel Gericke, were part of an effort by the UAE to spy on human rights activists, politicians, and government critics.
Gericke, Baier, and Adams hacked into US companies, creating two exploits that were used to break into smartphones. Several entities conducted in-depth investigations into the work of Project Raven and the kind of hacking the US intelligence operatives were doing. Despite the accusations listed in the court filing, the DoJ stated that the former NSA employees and members of the military agreed to pay the fines on September 7. The trio is also banned from obtaining future US security clearances and participating in work involving computer network exploitations.