US Navy serviceman Charles Briggs, who was arrested on charges of passing classified information to a Russian citizen, faces up to 64 years in prison, Beth Baker, the Navy’s Director of public relations for the northeast region, told on Tuesday.
According to a report, if found guilty by the court, Briggs, in addition to imprisonment, faces demotion to the rank of e-1 (now he is the chief information systems specialist at the rank of E-7, which corresponds to the position of chief petty officer), as well as fines and confiscation of property.
Briggs, who works at the Navy medical center in Portsmouth in the field of information technology, is accused of illegally distributing classified information obtained from a government computer. The soldier is currently being held in custody awaiting trial. Technically, Briggs remains in his position and continues to receive a salary. In total, he served in the armed forces for almost 22 years.
The indictment states that on or about January 9, 2019, Briggs, while on duty at Offutt air force base in Nebraska, knowingly and without permission accessed a computer from which he took classified information, namely “an email containing classified information.” However, Briggs had reason to believe that this data could be used to harm the United States or that it could be of value to a foreign power. After that, the document says, Briggs intentionally passed classified information to a “Russian citizen.”
The second count is that Briggs, during a security check-in April 2018 “with the intent to deceive,” answered “no” to the question of whether he had “close and long-term relationships” with foreign citizens.