Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert Birchum has been sentenced to three years in federal prison and fined 25,000 USD for illegally possessing classified documents in various locations. The statement from the Department of Justice reads below:
“Birchum pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing and retaining classified documents relating to the national defense of the United States on February. 21, 2023. According to the plea agreement, Birchum previously served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. During his 29-year career, Birchum served in various positions in intelligence, including those requiring him to work with classified intelligence information for the Joint Special Operations Command, the Special Operations Command, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. While on active duty, Birchum entered into several agreements with the United States regarding the protection and proper handling of classified information.
In 2017, however, law enforcement officers discovered that Birchum knowingly removed more than 300 classified files or documents, including more than 30 items marked Top Secret, from authorized locations. Birchum kept these classified materials in his home, his overseas officer’s quarters, and a storage pod in his driveway. None of these locations were authorized for storage of classified national defense information. In particular, the criminal information charges that Birchum possessed two documents on a thumb drive found in his home that contained information relating to the National Security Agency’s capabilities and methods of collection and targets’ vulnerabilities. Both of these documents were classified as Top Secret/SCI, and their unauthorized release could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”
The are no indications that Birchum distributed any of the documents.