CIA Fires Contract Employees For Hacking Vending Machines, Stealing Candy

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The CIA dismissed a number of contracted employees who admitted to hacking vending machines and stealing around $3,000 worth of candy and snacks, according to a recently declassified report.

The employees were able to bypass the payment system known as FreedomPay used by the CIA’s vending machines to get free food between October 2012 and March 2013, according to an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The OIG was alerted to the possible theft of snacks, and had CIA set up cameras around the vending machines. The security team witnessed the contractors unplug the network cables connected to the vending machines, then use FreedomPay cards with no money loaded on them to trick the vending machine into dispensing snacks.

“Video footage recovered from the surveillance cameras captured numerous perpetrators engaged in the FreedomPay theft scheme, all of whom were readily identifiable as agency contract personnel,” the report said.

It’s unclear how many contractors were involved in lifting snacks from the vending machines, but when the CIA confronted the the perpetrators, they immediately admitted to the theft and handed in their security credentials.

One unnamed contractor was responsible for discovering the payment workaround, and admitted to sharing the secret with other employees. The OIG estimated the value of the stolen snacks to be worth $3,314.

The OIG turned over their findings to the Department of Justice, but the Virginia U.S. attorney’s office declined to prosecute the snack thieves.

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