Cyber-security specialist who killed self was investigated for hacking
By BETH HUNDSDORFER | Belleville News-Democrat | Published: August 31, 2014
MASCOUTAH, Ill. (MCT) - A man stationed at Scott Air Force Base and hired to ensure the security of Department of Defense computers was being investigated for hacking before he took his own life, according to recently unsealed federal court records.
FBI Agent Christopher Trifiletti showed up to question Jamie Magers, 33, who worked as a cyber-security specialist, at his office at Scott Air Force Base on Sept. 23. Trifiletti also had a search warrant to search Magers' home at 410 Turquoise Court in Mascoutah, allowing them to seize computer equipment at the home. The contents of the search warrant affidavit were unsealed in federal court earlier this month.
The next day after Magers was questioned by federal agents and his home was searched, Mascoutah police found Magers in the driver's seat of his Cadillac in the parking lot of Mascoutah City Hall with a gunshot wound to his head.
"I know once you go through everything, you will find things that crossed the line. Nothing I've done was meant to hurt anyone ... I never planned to leak anything or release anything to the public ... If I could go back and undo my wrongs I would. I hope you know that I am a good person at heart, even if I let my (curiosity) get the better of me," Magers wrote in a portion of his suicide note addressed to the FBI.
Brad Ware, spokesman for the Springfield Division of the FBI, declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing.
Magers was assigned to a hunt team for the Defense Information Systems Agency, a team that detects unauthorized intrusions into Department of Defense networks. As part of his employment at Scott Air Force Base, Magers had access to sensitive and classified material, according to the search warrant affidavit.
Alarms went up on Sept. 3 when an unnamed government agency lost control of an email account and related website in early September. An FBI investigation identified "Jamie Magers as the likely perpetrator of the malicious activity."
Investigators discovered that in addition to the compromised e-mail account and website. Magers accumulated a "significant amount of information" on an unnamed person, including personal pictures, partial credit card information, account passwords, emails, college transcripts, the search warrant application stated. Magers also accessed the voicemail of that individual's boyfriend and downloaded those messages to his computer, Trifiletti stated.
"Investigation is ongoing as to the nature of the relationship between Magers and this individual, and to determine why Magers would have acquired such information," the affidavit stated.
Magers also accessed the email account for a musical group and the individual email accounts for each member of the group, Trifiletti stated.
"Magers' computer contained copies of records such as pay stubs, contract negotiations, artistic drafts of unreleased album art, copies of passports, personal pictures and videos, and other items related to the musical group and its members that would not be public," according to the warrant.
The name of the band was not listed.
Federal agents would not get the chance to question Magers about why he collected this information or who he was sharing it with, but they do name another civilian contractor who worked at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina that may have known about Magers' activities.
In a chat exchange referenced in court documents, Magers writes to the man, who has not been charged, "I have something epic. ... You're missing out on some good stuff. Yeah. Passwords, logons, access to servers."
Among items found at Magers' home were "Pass-Pal devices," which are small, hand-built USB password storage devices that can hold multiple passwords or tokens and photographs of a "data ex-filtrators," a hand-built customized storage device that can deceive a computer into thinking that the device is a keyboard, allowing the user to get around security measures and allow the unauthorized transfer of data.
Magers' fiance, who declined to comment, told investigators that the night after the search warrant was executed, Magers was "frantically" trying to find out what electronic devices were seized.
Within hours of being questioned by federal agents, Magers wrote a note, took a .38-caliber handgun and drove to the city's parking lot in his black Cadillac.
The car was found there the next morning. Magers was in the front seat with a gunshot wound to the head. He died three days later -- the day before his 34th birthday.
"(Trifiletti) believes Magers was involved in additional criminal activity, including unauthorized access, the details of which are not yet known to investigators but could be critical to the (government)," the affidavit stated.
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