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Air Force engineer stole gov’t tech, risking 17 AF bases, FBI and more, report says

Authorities are investigating a shooting after an airman at Shaw Air Force Base shot and injured a person attempting to illegally enter the base. ( State/TNS)
July 31, 2023

A “critical compromise” of communications at 17 U.S. Air Force facilities is being investigated by the Pentagon, after one of its engineers was found stealing Air Force communication technology.

According to Forbes, a search warrant for the engineer also includes evidence of a potential FBI communications breach by the same Air Force engineer, who formerly worked at Tennessee’s Arnold Air Force Base.

The U.S. government reportedly received a tip from a base contractor, claiming that the unidentified 48-year-old engineer had taken Air Force radio technology to his home. The search warrant noted that the alleged cost of the equipment was approximately $90,000

Forbes reported that when law enforcement raided the engineer’s residence, they discovered that the Air Force employee had “unauthorized administrator access” to communication technology utilized by the Air Education and Training Command that affected 17 Department of Defense facilities.

According to the Pentagon, the Air Education and Training Command is one of nine “major commands” that are “interrelated and complementary, providing offensive, defensive, and support elements” to the headquarters of the U.S. Air Force.

As part of the raid on the engineer’s residence, investigators found an open computer screen with a Motorola radio programming software that contained “the entire Arnold Air Force Base communications system,” according to the search warrant.

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Law enforcement also reportedly discovered evidence that the Air Force engineer had potential access to the communications of Tennessee state agencies, as well as the FBI.

A document listing the technology seized during the raid claims that the engineer had a USB with “administrative passwords and electronic system keys for the Air Education and Training Command radio network. Flash drives recovered from the suspect’s residence included “local law enforcement radio programming files,” while a USB drive included “Motorola radio programming files” that featured a warning that the files were the possession of the U.S. government. Law enforcement also recovered files that featured a “CONFIDENTIAL RESTRICTED” pop-up.

The search warrant obtained by Forbes indicated that “witnesses and co-workers” informed investigators that the engineer “sold radios and radio equipment, worked odd hours, was arrogant, frequently lied, displayed inappropriate workplace behavior and sexual harassment, had financial problems, and possessed [Arnold Air Force Base land mobile radio] equipment.”

According to Forbes, the suspect had previously been reported twice by a colleague due to “insider threat indicators,” as well as the unauthorized possession of Air Force equipment.