By Paul Sperry for RealClearInvestigations
The Internal Revenue Service recently awarded a lucrative contract to help modernize its computer databases to the same Washington firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, that employed the man who pleaded guilty last week to stealing and leaking thousands of private tax returns of wealthy Americans, including former President Trump, according to records reviewed by RealClearInvestigations.
Cyber-thief Charles “Chaz” Littlejohn was working on an IRS contract for Booz Allen in 2018 when he stole more than two decades of Trump’s personal tax records from IRS computers. He later leaked them to the New York Times, which published negative stories on Trump’s long-sought returns several weeks before the 2020 election, which Trump narrowly lost.
After the election, Littlejohn leaked a trove of sensitive IRS data on Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, and other billionaires – including major conservative donors – to ProPublica. The left-leaning news site used them to write a series, “The Secret IRS Files,” about how the rich use loopholes and tricks to avoid paying taxes. Congressional Democrats cited the series in their push for higher taxes on the wealthy.
A Democratic donor, Littlejohn struck a deal with federal prosecutors in which he copped to a single count of disclosing tax information without authorization. Though facing a maximum of five years, his plea deal calls for an estimated range of eight to 14 months when he is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 29.
The most profitable government contractor in the world, Booz Allen Hamilton has been connected to high-profile Democrats over the years, including former employee James Clapper, who served as President Obama’s intelligence czar. Clapper was involved in an intelligence community operation just weeks before the 2020 election to suppress information about Biden foreign influence-peddling found on his son’s laptop.
At least two Obama administration alumni sit on Booz Allen’s board. President Clinton’s IRS commissioner also holds a seat. In the 2020 election cycle, federal records show Booz Allen contributed a total of $238,776 to Joe Biden versus $85,657 to Trump. The company also gave almost four times more money to the Democratic National Committee than to the Republican National Committee.
Federal investigators were closing in on the 38-year-old Littlejohn this summer when the Biden administration decided to rehire his former employer, Booz Allen, through a contract with a ceiling value of $2.6 billion to help overhaul the IRS’s IT operations. The massive new IRS contract may explain why the Biden administration won’t identify Littlejohn’s employer by name in court papers and press releases about the case.
The Justice Department would only say that Littlejohn “served as a contractor to Company A, a consulting firm that serviced public and private clients.” The Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS and also investigated Littlejohn, has not identified Booz Allen as the firm, either. Nor have Littlejohn’s lawyers, who declined comment.
The Washington media have gone along with the blackout, describing Littlejohn as an “IRS Contractor.” Even as they have reported in some detail on the mechanics of Littlejohn’s thievery – he uploaded data to a private server instead of downloading it to a flash drive that might set off IRS alarms – news outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico never explained the key question of how he had access to the tax returns in the first place: because he was working for Booz Allen.
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The identity of his former employer is not difficult to find on the Internet. A Pew Charitable Trust bulletin dated Feb. 26, 2018 describes Littlejohn as “an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton’s finance and economic development practice.”
The massive IRS breach raises new questions about Booz Allen’s ability to protect sensitive government information. In 2013, Booz Allen put Edward Snowden to work at the National Security Agency. That May, Snowden left the country with thousands of top-secret documents that he soon leaked to journalists, exposing the agency’s worldwide anti-terror surveillance program. Snowden fled to Russia and in 2022 was granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin.
In 2016, Booz Allen computer analyst Harold Martin III was arrested for stealing other data from the NSA. The McLean, Va.-based company employs more than 20,000 consultants with government security clearances handling some of the nation’s most confidential data.
Despite this history of breaches, the IRS has trusted Booz Allen to help modernize its computer system. In late June, the IRS awarded the company part of a multibillion-dollar contract to update its databases, which involves consolidating roughly 400 different systems into a new, cloud-based architecture. The IRS did not respond to requests for comment about Booz Allen.
In a press statement following Littlejohn’s arrest, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said that the agency has “tightened security” in the wake of the leaks. The Treasury Department’s inspector general is “still investigating” the case, according to a Department of Justice press release. Prosecutors have not offered a motive for Littlejohn’s crime. If they know why he leaked Trump’s tax information to the media, they’re not saying.
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
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