A Colorado man was sentenced to two years in federal prison Jan. 11 for attempting to damage TSA databases.
A former contractor working at the U.S. Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) was sentenced to two years in prison for tampering
with federal databases after he learned he was being fired.
Douglas James Duchak, 47, was sentenced Jan. 11 by U.S. Circuit
Court Judge David M. Ebel. He was also ordered to pay more than $60,000
in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release
following the completion of his prison sentence. He pleaded guilty Oct.
19, 2010, roughly seven months after he was indicted
According to his plea deal, beginning in August 2004, Duchak was
employed by a government contractor to work as a data analyst at
the TSA's Colorado Springs Operations Center (CSOC). The CSOC
loads data it receives from the federal government's Terrorist
Screening Database and the United States Marshal's Service Warrant
Information Network into its servers. Duchak worked there for five
years, and was responsible for receiving information from various federal government databases
and preparing that information to be uploaded into TSA's vetting database.
On Aug. 12, 2009, Duchak was told his responsibilities were being
given to another employee, and that he would be performing other tasks
in the future. He began training the new employee on how to upload
information from the government databases. On Oct. 15, 2009, the
contractor informed Duchak his position was being eliminated and his
employment at the TSA center would be terminated in 15 days.
In retaliation, Duchak admitted, he accessed a sensitive database
22, 2009, and deleted instructional code from the program. The code was
necessary to format dates of birth information received in connection
with the arrest warrant database information.
Four days later, Duchak's replacement observed what he believed to
be unauthorized code that would disrupt TSA's security screening
function, authorities said. TSA personnel halted the computer
function until they could ascertain the source and scope of the
problems. On that same day, the defendant was contacted and
notified that he should not return to work.
An investigation showed the unauthorized code was created and
transmitted by Duchak Oct. 23, 2009, in an attempt to cause damage to
the TSA's vetting databases.
"The collaborative effort of the FBI and Department of Homeland
Security is indicative of the on-going working relationship between
federal investigative agencies in order to combat all manners of
federal violations," said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis, in a
statement. "This investigation highlights the leveraging of federal law
enforcement resources to protect the public from those who might be
inclined to potentially place U.S. citizens in harm's way."