A Marina del Rey man was sentenced on Monday to more than three years in prison for providing sensitive information about a network used to control and communicate with military satellites to someone he believed was a foreign intelligence officer working for the People’s Republic of China.
Brian Scott Orr, 42, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell, who ordered Orr to pay a fine of $10,000 and serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.
Orr, a former civilian employee who worked for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y., pleaded guilty in March to retention of stolen government property.
From 2009 through 2011, Orr maintained a Top Secret security clearance and was assigned to work on sensitive and classified matters related to the Air Force Satellite Control Network, a computer network used to control military satellites. Some of Orr’s responsibilities included the identification and evaluation of vulnerabilities in the network.
While working in this capacity, Orr obtained various materials used to train personnel on how to operate the computer network.
He resigned from the Air Force Research Laboratory in 2011 after his access to classified and other sensitive areas had been withdrawn, but he unlawfully retained the restricted materials he had obtained.
The materials were labeled with warnings restricting their export from the United States.
Last September and November, Orr met with someone he believed to be a representative of a Chinese intelligence service but who was, in reality an undercover FBI agent, according to the government. Orr met with the agent multiple times and provided two thumb drives that contained sensitive military technical data he had obtained during his employment at the research lab, according to the government.
Orr admitted handing over the materials he had obtained at the lab to the undercover agent in exchange for $5,000, boasting that he was the “foremost expert on attacking the computer network,” according to the government.
During the course of his communications with the FBI agent, Orr stated that he could destroy or disrupt U.S. military satellites on behalf of the Chinese government, the entity for which he believed the undercover operative was working, according to the plea agreement.
According to sentencing papers filed by prosecutors, Orr suggested to the agent that, for a “big reward,” he could explain “the full amount, how to … destroy it,” when discussing the satellite system.
Orr also suggested that he would need to be taken out of the country in order to “actually do something to this network.”
During one exchange, Orr explained to the agent that he was providing him with two gigabytes of data that had “all the courses” used to “train satellite network operators,” court papers show.