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Spy who stole Akamai secrets agrees to cop guilty plea

DesLauriers: nabbing tech
spies high priority

A former employee of Akamai Technologies agreed to plead guilty to foreign economic espionage charges for providing trade secrets over an 18-month period to an undercover agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer, according to the FBI.

The prosecution was the first in Massachusetts for foreign economic espionage and only the eighth in the nation, the bureau said in a statement released on July 21.

The former employee of the Cambridge, MA, company, Elliot Doxer, 42, acknowledged in a statement of facts that on June 22, 2006, he sent an email to the Israeli consulate in Boston stating that he worked in Akamai’s finance department and was willing to provide any information that might help Israel.

In later communications, Doxer said that his chief desire “was to help our homeland and our war against our enemies.” He also asked for payment in light of the risks he was taking.

In September 2007, an FBI agent posing as an undercover Israeli intelligence officer spoke to Doxer and established a “dead drop” where the agent and Akamai employee could exchange written communications. From September 2007 through March 2009, Doxer visited the dead drop at least 62 times to leave information, retrieve communications or check for new communications.

Included in the trade secret information that Doxer provided the undercover agent were an extensive list of Akamai’s customers; contracts between Akamai and various customers revealing contact, services, pricing and termination date information; and a comprehensive list of Akamai’s employees that revealed their positions and full contact information.

The former employee also broadly described Akamai’s physical and computer security systems and stated that he could travel to the foreign country and could support special and sensitive operations in his local area if needed.

Doxer was arrested on October 6, 2010, on a complaint charging him with wire fraud.

That charge will be dismissed as part of the plea agreement. The charge of foreign economic espionage carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a three-year term of supervised release and a $500,000 fine.

A plea hearing has been scheduled for Doxer for August 29.

“Economic espionage poses a tremendous risk, not only to corporate America, but to the safety and well being of our nation’s security," U.S. Atty. Carmen M. Ortiz said in a statement."

"I want to thank Akamai Technologies, Inc. for their outstanding cooperation in this matter, which played an important role in assisting law enforcement with bringing Mr. Doxer to justice,” she added.

What makes this arrest and prosecution particularly important is that it occurred in one of the country's centers for the development of innovative technology and research, maintained Boston's FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers.

"Preventing those intent on stealing trade secrets and American technology from local industry leaders, regardless of their motivation, is a high priority for the FBI,” he said. “Mr. Doxer’s criminal actions are an affront to the dedicated workers in the thriving technology industry."

"The arrest of Mr. Doxer is a significant achievement by the FBI and the USAO, District of Massachusetts, to thwart Mr. Doxer’s goal of attempting to deprive Akamai Technologies of valuable business technology and confidential business information,” he added.

 

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