A Lockheed-Martin IT employee at Sandia National Labs, which develops nuclear weapons, discovered that the lab's computers had been broken into. Told by his management to keep it quiet and inside the company, the employee, Shawn Carpenter, instead continued his investigation and shared his information with the FBI. He was fired by Lockheed-Martin, but a jury later awarded him nearly $5 million.
After discovering the lab's computers had been broken into, Carpenter retraced the hacker's steps, eventually "backhacking" into machines they controlled, where he discovered the sensitive data.What's really troubling here is that Lockheed-Martin is about as big a contractor as government contractors come. They have countless government contracts in sensitive areas, and this episode just begs the question: How many more similar cases have occurred that haven't seen the light of day?
Carpenter refused to obey his bosses' orders to end his efforts and keep the information within Sandia; he instead contacted the FBI and worked for months with counterintelligence agents, who told him his information was aiding numerous ongoing investigations. Soon after his bosses found out, they fired Carpenter.
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When asked if she thought her corporation had been concerned because Carpenter had put national security ahead of the company's interests, vice president for human resources Kimberly Sue Adams said no. "Phrased in that way, absolutely no."