CO Man Indicted For Allegedly Trying To Corrupt TSA Database

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U.S. Attorney David M. Gaouette of Colorado issued a statement today on yesterday’s indictment of Douglas James Duchak on charges of corrupting a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) database. Here are Gaouette’s complete remarks:

DENVER – Douglas James Duchak, age 46, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver late yesterday on charges of attempting intentionally to damage a protected computer. The indictment alleges Duchak attempted to corrupt a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) database. Duchak surrendered to U.S. Marshals this morning, and will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Denver this afternoon.According to the indictment, Douglas James Duchak worked at TSA’s Colorado Springs Operations Center (CSOC). The CSOC loads into its computer servers data it receives from the federal government’s Terrorist Screening Database, and the United States Marshal’s Service Warrant Information Network.

The defendant was employed from at least August 2004 through Oct. 23, 2009, as a data analyst at the TSA CSOC. Duchak’s duties at the CSOC included receiving new information from the Terrorist Screening Database and U.S. Marshal’s Service Warrant Information Network database to update TSA’s computers. On Oct. 15, 2009, Duchak was advised that his employment at CSOC would be terminated as of Oct. 30, 2009.

Count one of the indictment alleges that on Oct. 22, 2009, Duchak attempted intentionally to cause damage without authorization to a protected computer, namely, he knowingly transmitted code into the CSOC server containing data from the U.S. Marshal’s Service Warrant Information Network, and thereby intentionally attempted to cause damage to the CSOC computer and database.

Count two of the indictment alleges that on Oct. 23, 2009, Duchak attempted intentionally to cause damage without authorization to a protected computer, namely, he knowingly transmitted code into the CSOC server that contained the Terrorist Screening Database, and thereby attempted intentionally to cause damage to the CSOC computer and database.

The indictment alleges that the defendant attempted intentionally to cause damage without authorization to the CSOC computers, which caused loss aggregating at least $5,000 or more during a one-year period and if completed would have caused damage affecting a computer used by the U.S. government in furtherance of national security.

“Prosecution of the defendant is critical to protecting the integrity of the government’s security databases,” said U.S. Attorney David M. Gaouette.

“TSA’s Office of Inspection and IT Security worked quickly to uncover and respond to this potential threat in partnership with agents from the DHS Office of Inspector General and the FBI,” said David Holmes, TSA Assistant Administrator, Office of Inspection. “This is an excellent example of how TSA and law enforcement work together to ensure the security of information technology that is critical to protecting the nation’s transportation system.”

“While this threat was an attempted internal attack on a cyber based system by a U.S. citizen, the FBI will invest the time, resources, and hard work necessary to pursue prosecution of these cases,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James H. Davis. “The tampering with a computer that is used as a tool to protect National Security of the United States will not be tolerated.”

James E. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, stated: “Along with our law enforcement partners, we work hard to insure that critical databases used for the protection of our citizens from security threats are not maliciously tampered with. When this occurs, we will vigorously pursue the perpetrator and work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute the matter to the full extent of the law.”

This case was investigated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Office of Inspection, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General, and the FBI.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Davies, who is the Chief of the Special Prosecutions Section.

If convicted, Duchak faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and a fine of not more than $250,000 per count for both counts contained in the indictment.

The indictment is an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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