State Department IT Contractor Accused of Leaking Classified Information

( – National allegiances appear to have been called into question after it was recently discovered that a naturalized American citizen of Ethiopian descent was using his stateside security clearance to funnel intelligence to the Ethiopian government.

On September 21st, officials said 50-year-old Abraham Teklu Lemma had been charged with espionage after it was determined the State Department employee had been using his position as an IT contractor to download classified reports about rebel activity in the country of his birth. According to the Justice Department, the reports were labeled as both secret and top secret and were routinely forwarded to Lemma’s government contacts in Ethiopia.

Government troops engage in frequent clashes with any number of rebel groups in the nation. Until Lemma chose to become involved, national forces did not have access to satellite imagery. According to U.S. prosecutors, the naturalized American provided Ethiopian officials with aerial photographs, maps, and detailed reports on rebel troop movement.

Authorities said they have evidence that Lemma had been engaging with counterparts in Africa since at least the summer of 2022. While stateside, prosecutors say the contractor communicated with Ethiopian representatives using an app that encrypts messages. Lemma is also said to have traveled to the nation in person several times.

In addition to the alleged physical and digital handoffs of information, Lemma is also accused of providing someone in Ethiopia with his U.S. government login credentials. Prosecutors say the State Department employee’s account was accessed over 30 times from outside the United States during periods of time when Lemma had not traveled overseas.

The Ethiopian-American’s undoing was reportedly the byproduct of another investigation. Jack Teixeira, an Air National Guardsman, was accused not long ago of uploading classified documents pertaining to the war in Ukraine to Discord. The Airman was charged with espionage and his actions led authorities to perform a review of the government’s IT policies. That review led to Lemma’s uncovering.

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