Former Army Contractor Sentenced for Making False Statement and Damaging Computer Systems
BOSTON – A Westfield resident who previously served in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Springfield for lying on his security clearance form and damaging U.S. Army computers.
Wei Chen, 62, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to six months of home confinement, five years of probation and a fine of $8,000. In December 2015, he pleaded guilty to making a false statement and damaging a U.S. Army computer.
Prior to immigrating to the United States and becoming a citizen in 2006, Chen served in the People’s Liberation Army. In 2010, Chen applied for a job as a computer system administrator for a Department of Defense (DOD) contractor, which required him to have a Secret-level security clearance. To obtain that clearance, Chen completed a questionnaire on which he certified that he understood that a false statement could be punished by imprisonment. Nonetheless, in response to the form’s question about whether he had ever served in a foreign country’s military, Chen falsely answered, “no.” Chen lied on this form because he believed that a truthful answer would reduce his chances of receiving the security clearance he needed to work as a DOD contractor. After submitting the form with false information, Chen received a secret level security clearance and was assigned to work for the U.S. Army as a system administrator at Camp Buehring in Kuwait.
On June 15 and 16, 2013, Chen connected one or more of his own thumb drives to computers at Camp Buehring that were connected to the Army’s unclassified network and the classified Secret-level network. Chen then made an effort to cover his tracks and hide his security violation. Specifically, he cleared network logs on the server that would have documented the connection of the thumb drive to the network server. Chen also copied a computer file, containing saved e-mail and documents, from his Secret-level workstation onto his thumb drive.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Daniel Andrews, Director of the Computer Crime Investigative Unit of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, made the announcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Bookbinder and B. Stephanie Siegmann of Ortiz’s Criminal Division.