A Lebanese-born C.I.A. officer who had previously worked as an F.B.I. agent pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges that she illegally sought classified information from government computers about the radical Islamic group Hezbollah.
The plea agreement by the defendant, Nada Nadim Prouty, appeared to expose grave flaws in the methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct background checks on its investigators.
Ms. Prouty, 37, who also confessed that she had fraudulently obtained American citizenship, faces up to 16 years in prison.
Court papers do not specifically say why Ms. Prouty sought information about Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group that is based in southern Lebanon, from the F.B.I.’s computer case files in June 2003, the month she left the bureau to join the C.I.A.
Mr. Wainstein, who runs the Justice Department’s national security division, said Ms. Prouty “engaged in a pattern of deceit to secure U.S. citizenship, to gain employment in the intelligence community and to obtain and exploit her access to sensitive counterterrorism intelligence.”
She pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal conspiracy, which has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; unauthorized computer access, which has a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, and naturalization fraud, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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