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Fort Bragg Soldier Accused of Spying By Breaking Into Computer

August 21, 1996

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ A soldier has been charged with breaking into the military’s computer system and giving ``secret computer passwords relating to the national defense″ to a Chinese citizen, the Fayetteville Observer-Times reported today.

Pfc. Eric O. Jenott, 20, a communication switch operator at Fort Bragg, has been jailed at Camp Lejeune since June 26, charged with espionage, damaging military property, larceny and breaking into government computer systems, according to Army documents quoted by the newspaper.

He could be sentenced to life in a military prison if he is convicted in a court-martial.

``He is not a criminal, just a computer hacker who happened to access a very important and expensive, supposedly impenetrable system,″ Jenott’s lawyer, Timothy Dunn said.

Jenott’s father, John Jenott, said his son discovered an apparent weakness in the military’s communications system several months ago, and persuaded his superiors to watch him break into the system to prove a point.

``If he would have never told them, they wouldn’t have known it,″ John Jenott said.

Jenott, a member of Fort Bragg’s 35th Signal Brigade, also told investigators that he gave a friend from China an Internet access code that is not classified, his father said.

The Army documents said that Jenott gave secret passwords to ``a citizen of a foreign nation.″

Fort Bragg officials would only say that the case is under investigation.

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