TSA computers sabotaged, former employee indicted

11 Mar

A former employee of the Transportation Security Administration has been indicted by the Denver federal grand jury for attempting to sabotage TSA computers that enable TSA airport personnel to spot potential terrorists before they board airliners.

Douglas James Duchak, 46, of Colorado Springs, worked for the TSA from August 2004 through October 2009.

According to the indictment, Duchak sent a code or virus into computers at the TSA’s Colorado Springs Operations Center in the attempt to disable the TSA computer system, which receives information from the government’s Terrorist Screening Database and the U.S. Marshal’s Service Warrant Information Network.

The indictment said that the TSA computer system is critical in “vetting of individuals” who are attempting to gain access to “secure areas of the nation’s transportation system.”

The indictment said that Duchak’s duties included updating the databases with new information.

He allegedly inserted a virus programmed to spread on a specific date to destroy the computer system.

However, TSA technicians spotted the virus and were able to neutralize it before it could damage the system, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver.

The indictment gave no reason why Duchak wanted to sabotage the system.

However, the indictment said that on Oct. 15, 2009, Duchak was told that his employment at the TSA center would end on Oct. 30, 2009.

He allegedly fed the disruptive code into the computer system on both Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, 2009, about a week before his employment was to end.

Dorschner said that because it is a personnel matter, he does not know why Duchak was losing his job.

James H. Davis, FBI Special agent in charge of the Denver FBI office, said Duchak’s alleged actions endangered national security.

“The tampering with a computer that is used as a tool to protect National security of the United States will not be tolerated,” he said in a statement.

If convicted, Duchak faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on both counts.

Duchak appeared in federal court Wednesday afternoon and was advised of the charges. His trial is scheduled for May 17. He was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond.


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