NSA employee charged with mishandling classified material

Mar 31, 2022, 8:52 AM | Updated: 9:25 am

BALTIMORE (AP) — A National Security Agency employee has been charged with emailing classified national security information to somebody who wasn’t authorized to receive it, according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday.

Mark Robert Unkenholz, 60, of Hanover, Maryland, was arrested Thursday and scheduled to make his initial court appearance in Baltimore later in the day.

Unkenholz held “top secret” security clearance, giving him access to the information, according to a 26-count indictment. He worked for an NSA office responsible for the agency’s engagement with private industry.

The indictment accuses Unkenholz of using his personal email address to send information classified as “secret” and “top secret” to somebody else’s private company email addresses on several occasions between February 2018 and June 2020.

The recipient held “top secret” clearance from April 2016 until approximately June 2019, while employed at a company that isn’t named in the indictment. However, from July 2019 until approximately January 2021, the person worked for a different company and wasn’t authorized to access or receive classified information, the indictment says.

A grand jury indicted Unkenholz on Tuesday on 13 counts of willfully transmitting national defense information and 13 counts of willfully retaining national defense informaton. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Federal sentencing guidelines typically recommend sentences far below the maximum.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Unkenholz.

The FBI is investigating.

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NSA employee charged with mishandling classified material