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    HomeUnited StatesU.S Air ForceFormer MacDill Airman Gets 3 Years in Prison for Keeping Classified Documents

    Former MacDill Airman Gets 3 Years in Prison for Keeping Classified Documents

    Former MacDill Airman Gets 3 Years in Prison for Keeping Classified Documents

    TAMPA — A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a former intelligence officer who kept hundreds of classified documents in his Tampa home to three years in prison.

    U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle also ordered Robert Birchum to complete three years of supervision upon his release from prison, with a requirement that he comply with mental health treatment. Birchum was also fined $25,000.

    The sentence was less than the 6½ years prosecutors asked for — which was the low end of what federal guidelines suggested — but far from the probationary penalty his defense lawyer had sought.

    In imposing the sentence, the judge noted that Birchum's retention of the classified material was apparently not done with a nefarious motive. But she also mentioned that his criminal conduct occurred repeatedly over a long period of time. She echoed a prosecutor's comment that Birchum's actions were the result of “hubris.”

    “You did it because you could do it,” Mizelle told him.

    Birchum pleaded guilty in February to a charge of unlawful retention of national defense information.

    The judge's decision came two weeks after an earlier hearing in which she held off on imposing a sentence to allow more time to research the outcome of similar cases. Lawyers cited a handful of other cases in which defendants were convicted of retaining classified information, noting differences and similarities to…

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