(TargetLiberty.org) – A civilian employee at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) has pleaded guilty to stealing classified information from the US Embassy in Manila. So far there’s no clue as to why she did it – was it carelessness or espionage?
Honolulu Woman Pleads Guilty to Unauthorized Removal and Retention of Classified Material: Asia Janay Lavarello of Honolulu pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly removing classified information concerning national defense. https://t.co/gcshuQWbo1
— FBI Honolulu (@FBIHonolulu) July 21, 2021
On July 20, the Department of Justice announced that a 31-year-old Honolulu, HI resident, Asia Janay Lavarello, admitted to removing classified documents from her workplace without authorization. She kept them in an insecure location and made personal notes that contained classified information. Lavarello pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly removing classified defense material – but “numerous” documents and multiple offenses were involved.
While Lavarello was on temporary assignment to the US Embassy to the Philippines in March 2020, she illegally removed documents – some of them classified SECRET – from the embassy and took them to her hotel room. That evening she held a party in the room; a co-worker found the documents, reported the security breach and Lavarello’s assignment was terminated. A later search of her office at INDOPACOM, where she worked as an executive assistant, uncovered more classified material illegally written in a personal notebook, plus evidence she’d sent SECRET data from her personal (and insecure) Gmail account to her official email address.
Now Lavarello could face five years in jail and a $250,000 fine – but what investigators don’t know is why she stole secret documents. China is increasingly aggressive in the Western Pacific region where INDOPACOM commands all US military operations. Was Lavarello just an arrogant civil servant who thought rules are for little people, or was she working for our enemies?
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