Former Defense Contractor Pleads Guilty
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – A former contractor for the Department of Defense pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville to charges related to the removal of classified materials.
Bruce Schliemann, 50, of Austin, Texas, waived his right to be indicted and pled guilty today to a one-count Information charging him with the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents. At sentencing, he faces a maximum possible penalty of up to one-year in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
“Protecting the integrity of classified documents is crucial to our national security,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Defendant Schliemann was a decorated Navy Seal who knew the importance of protecting classified information. Nonetheless, he misused classified information, and then tried to cover up his crime. We will do all we can to identify breaches of national security like this one and hold the offenders responsible. ”
According to a statement of facts filed today in court, in 2010, Schliemann, a retired Navy Seal, was working as an employee for a Department of Defense contractor in the Southern District of California in San Diego.
In April 2010, Schliemann knowingly downloaded classified information from a classified computer in a secure facility to a personal thumb drive. The defendant then removed the thumb drive from the secure facility and transferred those classified files to the laptop computer that had been issued to him by his employer. After removing the classified markings, Schliemann then emailed the classified material to employees of another defense contractor located in the Western District of Virginia. The employees of this second defense contractor subsequently then transmitted the classified information to a number of unauthorized and un-cleared persons in several locations.
During September 2010, Schliemann found out he was being investigated for his actions and consulted with a computer-savvy friend for assistance in “wiping” the hard drive of his laptop computer. After wiping the hard drive, Schliemann physically destroyed the hard drive and thumb drive that held the classified information.
In addition, when approached by agents in September 2010, Schliemann lied about a number of facts, including telling the agents he obtained the classified information by “digging around on the internet.” The defendant also specifically denied removing the classified information from the secure facility in San Diego.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security Investigations [HIS] and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Pfleger is prosecuting the case for the United States.