The Associated Press reports that three former U.S. intelligence operatives have confessed to working as cyber spies for the United Arab Emirates government and agreed to pay $1.68 million dollars as part of a deal to avoid prosecution.
Prosecutors have accused defendants Ryan Adams, Marc Baier and Daniel Gericke to offer hacking and intelligence-gathering systems to infiltrate computer systems in the U.S. and other countries when they worked as senior managers for a UAE-based firm. The men have defied export control laws and practiced computer fraud as a result of their actions, according to the Department of Justice.
However, the deferred prosecution agreement would discard the charges as long as the defendants cooperate with the Justice Department-led investigation, do not seek U.S. security clearances and cut ties with UAE intelligence, as well as do not dispute facts from the prosecution.
"Hackers-for-hire and those who otherwise support such activities in violation of U.S. law should fully expect to be prosecuted for their criminal conduct," said Mark Lesko, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's national security division.