FBI analyst faces trial for surfing law enforcement systems

A former FBI investigative analyst is set to go on trial early next month in Dallas on felony charges related to his alleged misuse of law enforcement databases.

Jeffrey D. Fudge of Lancaster, Texas, faces eight counts of exceeding authorized access to a government computer and two counts of making false statements. If he is convicted on all the charges, Fudge could be imprisoned for up to 50 years or fined up to $2.5 million.

Fudge, who has denied all the charges, could not be reached for comment. Attorney Kevin Lamar Kelley of the firm of Kelley and Witherspoon of Dallas represented Fudge after his Nov. 5, 2003 arrest and firing. 'Once the truth has come out, Jeffrey's name will be cleared,' Kelley said. Federal public defender Richard D. Goldman now represents Fudge.

According to the indictment in the case of USA v. Fudge, the former investigative analyst's work in support of FBI agents involved using the bureau's Automated Case Support system, the National Crime Information Center, the Texas Crime Information Center, the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System and the FBI Net.

The government charged that Fudge, beginning at least as early as October 1997 and continuing through April 2003, accessed FBI files and computer programs and revealed information to his friends and family members. He also checked whether the bureau was investigating specific people, including prominent Dallas residents. 'Likewise, the defendant accessed FBI files to satisfy his own curiosity about FBI investigations,' according to the indictment. Fudge had worked for the FBI since 1988.

The indictment cites Fudge's allegedly unauthorized access of files concerning eight people known to the grand jury and referred to as persons A through G. The grand jury charged Fudge with disclosing the information he found, in some instances, to other unnamed persons.

The false-statement charges allege that Fudge failed to cooperate with Justice Department agents investigating the case and failed to fully disclose the names of people to whom he passed on FBI files and computer programs.

Steven P. Beauchamp, special agent in charge of the Justice Department's Inspector General's Office, said in a statement, 'This indictment serves as a reminder that the department will not tolerate the misuse and unauthorized disclosure of sensitive law enforcement information. In today's world, and with advancing technology, there is too much at stake.'

Fudge's trial is set to begin April 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.

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