A former contractor for the CIA has pleaded guilty to stealing and stockpiling classified information, and for lying about it to investigators.
Prosecutors say Reynaldo B. Regis, 53, copied classified information into personal notebooks while he was working for the CIA, and would store them at his home.
“When initially interviewed by law enforcement, Regis lied about having done so,” the Department of Justice said in a press release Friday. Regis worked for the CIA between August 2006 and November 2016, according to court documents, but it’s unclear why he departed the agency. (RELATED: Feds Charge Ex-CIA Case Officer Who Allegedly Gave Up Entire US Spy Network In China)
When FBI agents raided his home Nov. 3, 2016, they found around 60 notebooks full of information he made at some point during his 10 years at the CIA. The notebooks contained “information relating to highly sensitive intelligence reports, disclosure of which could cause serious damage to the national security,” according to the DOJ.
As part of his plea agreement, Regis admitted to unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, and making false statements. He faces up to five years in prison, but the prosecutors note that sentences for federal crimes are usually lower than the maximum penalties.
Regis’ defense attorney said the CIA’s mishandling of information was a mistake. “He’s a decent man who has provided service to the country for a long time,” John Zwerling, Regis’s attorney, told The Washington Post in a statement. “He made a mistake and acknowledged it, accepted responsibility for it and now stands as a felon.”
Court documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation say that “throughout” his time at the CIA, Regis kept notebooks at his workspace, which he wrote in from time to time. His job required him to look up various persons in classified databases, but prosecutors say “throughout his time at the CIA Regis conducted unauthorized searches of unassigned persons.”
Regis would then write some of the information — much of which contained secret intelligence that could harm national security, according to the court filings — in his notebooks, and take them to his home. The CIA determined that “there were several hundred instances of classified information represented in the seized notebooks, much of which were classified as Secret.”
On the same day the FBI searched his home and found the 60 notebooks, Regis told agents in a voluntary interview that he “never wrote down any classified information in his notebooks” and that he “never removed any classified information from his workspace at the CIA.” As part of his guilty plea, Regis acknowledged that he made those statements knowing they were false.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated.
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