Kemp was an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contractor from July 2016 to May 2019, and later a contractor at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), according to U.S Southern District of Ohio Attorney David M. DeVillers. While working at AFRL and NASIC, both at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Kemp had “top secret” security clearance, DeVillers’ office said in a release on the guilty plea.
“Despite having training on various occasions on how to safeguard classified material, Kemp took 112 classified documents and retained them at his home,” the attorney’s office said.
Law enforcement officers discovered the more than 100 documents, which contained about 2,500 pages of material classified at the “secret” level.
What led to the discovery of the classified materials was a May 25, 2019 Fairborn police search of Kemp’s 1231 Harmony Lane house — a search for a “marijuana growing facility.”
Fairborn police discovered the documents. On questioning by police, Kemp was said to admit that he had taken classified documents from work, FBI Special Agent Brandt Pangburn testified that year in an application for a search warrant of Kemp’s electronic devices.
When the case became public in the summer of 2019, questions arose about how an employee could take thousands of pages of classified documents from a workplace.
“I think a lot of people might be surprised at just how easy it is to abscond with classified documents,” Sean Bigley, a security clearance defense attorney and a former investigator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, told the Dayton Daily News in July 2019.
Unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors, the prosecuting attorneys said.
Representatives of NASI and the AFRL declined to comment. A message was left for an attorney who represents Kemp.
Announcing the plea in Judge Walter Rice’s court Thursday were DeVillers; John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for the National Security Division of the Department of Justice; Chris Hoffman, FBI special agent in charge, Cincinnati Division; and Fairborn Police Chief Terry Bennington.