A West Virginia woman was charged with mishandling top-secret government documents — which she stashed in a storage unit and then fled to Mexico in a separate kidnapping case, according to prosecutors.
Elizabeth Jo Shirley was accused in court papers last week of keeping the documents “relating to the national defense,” without authorization between 1999 and August 2019.
Prosecutors allege Shirley was supposed to deliver the documents — which were classified at the top-secret level from the National Security Agency — to a federal officer or employee.
Instead, she kept the documents stashed in a leased storage unit, prosecutors said.
West Virginia woman admits driving to Mexico with her daughter and series of TOP SECRET U.S. government documents – then seeks asylum in Russia.
Elizabeth Joe Shirley of Hedgesville, West Virginia, admitted to illegally holding a secret document of the US National Security Agency.
A top secret document contained intelligence information regarding the military and political affairs of a foreign government and fled to Mexico.
The woman served in the Air Force, where she worked, including on the tasks of the NSA, and received her first admission in TS / SCI form in August 1994. Shirley later served in the Air Force and Navy reserves.
From May 2001 to August 2012, Shirley held various positions in the US Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the Cyber Intelligence Task Force and worked for at least five different defense contractors.
In July 2019, Shirley took her six-year-old daughter to Mexico with the intention of establishing contact with representatives of Russian intelligence in order to demand relocation to a country that would not give her to the United States, taking secret information to Mexico.
Shirley prepared a written message for Russian government officials, citing the “urgent need to transfer” items “related to her work before they are captured and destroyed.”
On August 13, 2019, a woman was detained by Mexican police at the request of the United States related to the illegal export of a child abroad.
During a search at her home and in the workplace, numerous media were discovered with information from the CIA and the NSA, which have a security stamp.
Shirley faces up to 10 years in federal prison when she is sentenced in federal court in Martinsburg, likely later this year.