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Ex-U.S. Intelligence Officers Admit to Hacking Crimes in Work for Emiratis

  • September 14, 2021

Legal experts have said the rules governing this new age of digital mercenaries are murky, and the charges made public on Tuesday could be something of an opening salvo in a battle to deter former American spies from becoming guns for hire overseas.

The three men, Marc Baier, Ryan Adams and Daniel Gericke, admitted violating U.S. laws as part of a three-year deferred prosecution agreement. If the men comply with the agreement, the Justice Department will drop the criminal prosecution. Each man will also pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines — the amount they earned working for DarkMatter. The men will also never be able to receive a U.S. government security clearance.

Mr. Baier worked for the National Security Agency unit that carries out advanced offensive cyberoperations. Mr. Adams and Mr. Gericke served in the military and in the intelligence community.

DarkMatter had its origins in another company, an American firm called CyberPoint that originally won contracts from the Emirates to help protect the country from computer attacks.

CyberPoint obtained a license from the American government to work for the Emiratis, a necessary step intended to regulate the export of military and intelligence services. Many of the company’s employees had worked on highly classified projects for the N.S.A. and other American intelligence agencies.

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