West Virginia woman pleads guilty to fleeing to Mexico with classified national security document and kidnapped girl


A West Virginia woman has pleaded guilty to fleeing to Mexico with classified national security documents and her daughter, over whom she had no custody, the justice ministry announced Monday.Elizabeth Jo Shirley pleaded guilty to a count of “voluntary withholding of information on national defense,” according to an agency spokesperson, in a press release classified as “top secret”.

“When Shirley took classified information from her work with the intelligence community and then fled to Mexico, it violated the trust that the American people had in her,” said Deputy Attorney General for National Security John Demers, in the ad.

“She doubled this betrayal when she sought to offer classified information to the Russian government. We are grateful for the timely work of our law enforcement partners in locating and arresting the accused in Mexico. Given Shirley’s disturbing conduct after fleeing the United States, the damage to national security could have been much greater if law enforcement had not acted quickly. Shirley will now be held responsible for betraying the trust of the American people, “he added.

The document Shirley admitted to having taken to Mexico included “classified intelligence information relating to military and political matters of a foreign government”.

“In July 2019, Shirley took her six-year-old daughter to Mexico with the intention of contacting representatives of the Russian government to request her resettlement in a country that would not extradite her to the United States. Shirley took her with her for Mexico’s National Defense Information, which she had illegally kept, “the statement said.

“During his stay in Mexico, Shirley prepared a written message for Russian government officials, referring to” an urgent need “to dispatch items from the United States relating to: [her] Life’s work before it is seized and destroyed, “he continued. Shirley was arrested and her daughter recovered from a hotel in Mexico City by US marshals and Mexican authorities, according to the Department of Justice.

She is currently facing a sentence of up to 10 years for theft of national security information and up to three years for the abduction of her daughter. Shirley also faces a maximum fine of $ 250,000 for the two charges.


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