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11 March 2010

Former TSA employee accused of attempted computer sabotage

Earlier this week, federal prosecutors in Colorado charged a former Transportation Security Administration employee with attempting to sabotage TSA computer systems, including one that contains key terrorist watch lists.

The former employee, Douglas Duchak, 46, of Colorado Springs, faces two charges of attempting to damage protected TSA computers. From August 2004 to October 2009, he worked as a data analyst at the TSA's Colorado Springs Operation Center where the government maintains computer systems that contain among other things the government's no-fly list. He allegedly tried to send a virus into the computer system's servers in late October 2009, after learning he would be terminated.

The computer system includes the government's no-fly list.

In the federal indictment, prosecutors stated Duchak failed in his attempt to introduce a virus into the computer system. Had he been successful, prosecutors claimed that his actions "would have caused damage affecting a computer used by the United States government in furtherance of national security."

Duchak was informed on October 15, 2009 that his employment would end on October 30th. In the indictment, he is accused of having introduced malicious computer code into the system on October 22nd and October 23rd. The indictment implied that his employment was terminated on October 23rd, a week before his employment was originally scheduled to end.

Duchak entered a not guilty plea during a hearing in Colorado and was released on a $25,000 bond. If convicted of both counts, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

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