An intelligence analyst working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation has pleaded guilty to snooping on an ongoing classified probe into a family member.
On September 28, federal prosecutors in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charged Azher Habib Salikuddin with “knowing conversion of a thing of value of the United States” after he used an FBI database to look up relatives’ names.
The crime allegedly took place in 2014 while Salikuddin was detailed to the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. Salikuddin originally worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a branch of the intelligence community that analyzes geospatial data collected from American spy satellites, and had a top-secret security clearance which gave him access to sensitive compartmentalized intelligence.
In May 2014, Salikuddin looked up the name of a relative, identified only as “Individual A,” in the FBI’s case-file database and learned that his family member was the subject of “a then-ongoing classified FBI investigation” and “was under surveillance by law enforcement,” according to a proffer of proof filed by prosecutors.
Armed with this knowledge, he then told a family member to implore the unnamed person under investigation “to cease certain activities of concern” because he was “concerned that his own security clearance would be jeopardized by Individual A’s activities.”
Salikuddin also allegedly looked up the names of two other individuals who weren’t family members “for personal reasons” and found no active investigations.
Salikuddin accepted a plea offer for a single misdemeanor count of knowing conversion of a thing of value of the United States. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. He is currently free on supervised release and awaiting sentencing.