Air Force Contractor Stole 112 Top-Secret Documents and Kept Them at Home

A former U.S. Air Force contractor with top-secret clearance has pleaded guilty to illegally taking some 2,500 pages of classified documents and keeping them in his home.

The Department of Justice said Thursday that Izaak Vincent Kemp, 35, of Fairborn, Ohio, was charged in January, having violated laws prohibiting the removal and retention of classified documents.

Kemp had been working as a contractor at the U.S. Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center based at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn. The center is responsible for analyzing intelligence on the operations and weapons of foreign air and space forces.

Before this, Kemp had worked as a contractor for the Air Force Research Laboratory—also at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base—from July 2016 to May 2019.

The laboratory oversees development of advanced weapons for American air, space and cyber forces. Among its projects are military satellites, laser weapons, hypersonic technology and space vehicles.

During both spells of employment, Kemp had top-secret clearance. The DOJ press release said Kemp had received training "on various occasions on how to safeguard classified material," but still took 112 classified documents home.

Law enforcement found the documents—containing around 2,500 pages of top-secret material—at Kemp's home while executing a search warrant on May 25, 2019.

Kemp could face up to five years in prison, which is the maximum sentence for unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents, the DOJ press release said.

Neither Kemp nor the DOJ has offered a malign motive for the crime. There appears to be no indication that Kemp was leaking or otherwise misusing the documents he took home.

Forbes reported in 2019 that officers only discovered the files while investigating an alleged "marijuana-growing facility," thought to be located inside Kemp's home. The police found both marijuana and classified documents, subsequently handing the case to the FBI.

It is not known what the files contained. Forbes said they were marked as "Special Access Programs"—a particularly sensitive classification meaning they had to be stored in highly protected environments.

The search warrant that uncovered the documents said Kemp "would have had to make a concerted effort to bypass security checkpoints" when taking them, Forbes reported.

Kemp told police he had printed the files while at work and then taken them home "for storage." He gave authorities consent to search his laptop, phone and hard drive during their investigation.

DOJ seal at DOJ in Washington, DC
The U.S. Department of Justice seal is pictured at the Department of Justice on December 5, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Samuel Corum/Getty Images/Getty