Elizabeth Shirley used her top level security clearance to snag a detailed intelligence analysis report, hoping to trade the classified secrets it contained to the Russians. That was the plan, until she got caught red handed.
Top level security clearances
Elizabeth Jo Shirley had a plan. She was all set to hand top-secret intelligence information from the National Security Agency to the Russian government in exchange for “resettlement in a country that would not extradite her back to the United States.” Last July, she kidnapped her daughter and split.
The 46-year-old West Virginia woman had quite a career in the intelligence community. She joined up with the Air Force but mostly “worked on assignments with the National Security Agency.” Between 2001 and 2012, she did a lot of work with the Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence. She also was assigned to the Defense Department, the Energy Department and the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force. Shirley worked closely with “at least five different cleared defense contractors.” To do that work she had to hold top-level clearances.
On Monday, the Department of Justice released a statement detailing how the traitor “unlawfully kept a document relating to national defense” stashed away in a rental storage unit. It’s a sensitive national security report “that outlines intelligence information regarding a foreign government’s military and political issues. The DOJ isn’t saying which country her stolen report analyzes but you can bet it’s an interesting one.
Accused of kidnapping
Stealing maximum security government secrets isn’t the only crime Elizabeth Shirley is accused of. In July of 2019, she allegedly kidnapped her 6-year-old daughter. Instead of returning the child to the father and his new wife in West Virginia per arrangement, she told him she had car trouble and headed for the border with Mexico.
While in Mexico, Shirley made contact with the Russians. She also, “prepared a written message that referenced an “urgent need” to have items shipped from the United States related to her ‘life’s work before they are seized and destroyed,’ prosecutors argue. That would be the sensitive security report.
It didn’t take the feds long to track her down. Shirley was arrested at a hotel in Mexico city in August. The child was safely returned to her father. The NSA raided her storage locker in Martinsburg, Virginia and recovered the missing security report. They found all the evidence of conspiracy with the Kremlin “on her electronic devices.”
At least Ms. Shirley was smart enough to plead guilty and save the taxpayers some extra expenses. As part of the deal, she is charged with one count of willful retention of national defense information and one count of international parental kidnapping. She’s looking at “up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the national security charge and up to three years and a $250,000 fine on the kidnapping charge.”