High-ranking transgender official caught stealing woman’s luggage

High-ranking transgender official caught stealing woman’s luggage

Sam Brinton, a transgender Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy, was caught stealing a woman’s luggage at a Minnesota airport. Now, this senior administration official faces up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. The US Department of Energy declined to comment on the arrest.

Brinton was appointed as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the US Department of Energy earlier this year. Brinton, who has been “praised for being a nonbinary-identifying” transgender person, “has been charged with felony theft for allegedly stealing a woman’s bag at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport,” notes a freelance journalist.

The theft occurred in September but Brinton was not arrested and charged until October. Brinton had not checked in any luggage for his flight. But he went to the baggage claim carousel and took a woman’s expensive branded roller bag, full of her clothes and personal items. Then, he went to a hotel.

On September 16, a female passenger notified authorities at the Minneapolis St Paul Airport that her roller bag was missing. She had taken a Delta flight from New Orleans to Minneapolis, but when she went to pick up her bag at the carousel, it was missing.

Airport security staff determined that her baggage had arrived, but had disappeared soon after from carousel 7. Closed circuit TV showed Sam Brinton taking the woman’s blue Vera Bradley designer roller bag from the carousel. Brinton was seen on camera removing the baggage tag, placing it into his handbag and fleeing the airport.

Brinton was then tracked down by investigators. He took a taxi to a hotel, stayed there for a day, and then flew to Washington DC later on. Then, he took a trip to Europe using the bag. On October 9, when Brinton was called by the cops and questioned about the baggage, he admitted that he may have taken the wrong bag, but falsely claimed the clothes inside were his. Two hours later, he called the cops, and admitted he had not been ‘completely honest’. He then claimed he took the bag because he thought it was his own.

The owner of the bag says the clothes and possessions in the bag were worth over $2000.

Brinton falsely claimed he left the clothes at the hotel room and departed from the hotel with only the bag. But in reality, no clothes were found at the hotel.

Brinton has been ordered to appear in court on December 29 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Brinton is on official leave and his lawyers have failed to respond to media requests for comment.

Brinton may be able to avoid serious jail time by citing his transgender status and claiming it will make life harder for him in jail. For example, a “Seattle hacker who stole information on 100 million people” and inflicted $250 million in damage got “time served and probation because she’s trans,” notes Hot Air. Progressive Judge Robert Lasnick “went easy on hacker Paige Thompson because he felt prison would be tough on a trans woman with mental health problems.”

A 37-year-old former Seattle tech worker was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to time served and 5 years of probation…At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said, time in prison would be particularly difficult for Ms. Thompson because of her mental health and transgender status.

“While we understand the mitigating factors, we are very disappointed with the court’s sentencing decision.  This is not what justice looks like,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  “Ms. Thompson’s hacking and theft of information of 100 million people did more than $250 million in damage to companies and individuals. Her cybercrimes created anxiety for millions of people who are justifiably concerned about their private information.  This conduct deserves a more significant sanction.”

The transgender hacker was convicted of seven hacking crimes this June, and prosecutors had asked for a seven year prison sentence:

Asking the court to impose a seven-year sentence, prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo, “…Thompson’s crimes … were fully intentional and grounded in spite, revenge, and willful disregard for the law. She exhibited a smug sense of superiority and outright glee while committing these crimes…. Thompson was motivated to make money at other people’s expense, to prove she was smarter than the people she hacked, and to earn bragging rights in the hacking community.”

In this case, “time served” means a mere three months in jail and less than two years at a halfway house. That’s a very meager sentence, taking into account the massive scope of the data theft. But Judge Lasnick, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1998, somehow thought it was appropriate.

The hacker was working at Amazon’s cloud services, where she hacked into a series of banks and enterprises such as Capital One — both to steal their client data, and to set up crypto mining on their computers (which consumes vast amounts of energy and drives up victims’ electricity bills):

Capital One Financial Corp. said data from about 100 million people in the U.S. was illegally accessed after prosecutors accused a Seattle woman identified by Amazon.com Inc. as one of its former cloud service employees of breaking into the bank’s server…

It included a wide array of personal data, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, self-reported income, credit scores and fragments of transaction history.

About 140,000 Social Security numbers were accessed, as well as 80,000 bank account numbers from credit-card customers, the bank said…

In court on Monday, Thompson broke down and laid her head down on the defense table during the hearing.

The transgender hacker uploaded some of that vast trove of data to her own GitHub site. As a result, she was detected and apprehended. Someone observed the the data and informed Capital One that it was up there. Capital One confirmed it was indeed their data and then contacted the FBI. Ultimately, the hacker planned to profit from the stolen data, but was arrested before she could do so. She said this on Twitter:

Hot Air’s John Sexton notes, “I’m not surprised the DOJ is disappointed with the sentence in this case. It seems really light given the magnitude of the data theft. It also seems like it sends a very bad message to other hackers about what awaits them if they are caught.”

As UPI reports:

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a statement that he was disappointed with the sentencing because of the massive amount of people Thompson’s hack affected.

“While we understand the mitigating factors, we are very disappointed with the court’s sentencing decision,” Brown said. “Ms. Thompson’s hacking and theft of information of 100 million people did more than $250 million in damage to companies and individuals. Her cybercrimes created anxiety for millions of people who are justifiably concerned about their private information. This conduct deserves a more significant sanction.”

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik said that time in prison would be “particularly difficult for Ms. Thompson because of her mental health and transgender status.”

In July 2019, Thompson used a software tool she built from Amazon Web Services to look for misconfigured accounts. Shen then used the accounts to hack and download data from more than 30 entities, including Capital One.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.

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