The U.S. Department of State (DoS) on August 29 imposed administrative debarment under the International Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR) upon three former U.S. private sector cybersecurity employees, according to a Federal Register notice.

Ryan Adams, Marc Baier and Daniel Gericke allegedly violated the Arms Export Control Act and the ITAR by “unauthorized furnishing of defense services involving electronic systems, equipment, and software,” according to the DoS press release.

The three ex-U.S. Intelligence Community and military personnel have been prohibited from participating directly or indirectly in any activities related to the ITAR until 2025.

The former DarkMatter Group employees provided cyber services to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government from 2016 to 2019, and, according to the DoS, used their computer network exploitation knowledge to “collect, survey, monitor, exploit, analyze, or produce information from the electromagnetic spectrum to foreign persons in the United Arab Emirates.”

Users of these hacking and intelligence systems created by Adams, Baier and Gericke gained access to “tens of millions of devices for the UAE government’s intelligence purposes,” the notice says.

In 2021, the men were charged under a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a fine of more than $1.68 million for their actions.

“The settlements demonstrate the Department’s role in furthering world peace and the security and foreign policy of the United States by controlling the export of defense services and preventing the proliferation of offensive cyber capabilities,” the news release said. “The settlements also highlight the importance of U.S. persons providing defense services only pursuant to appropriate authorization from the Department.”

As a result of these violations, the three men entered Consent Agreements that administratively debarred them on July 7, 2022 (Adams and Baier) and August 5, 2022 (Gericke).

According to the DoS, reinstatement after three years is not automatic but contingent on full compliance with the terms of the Consent Agreements and evidence that the underlying problems that gave rise to the violations have been corrected.

At the end of the debarment period, Adams, Baier and Gericke may apply for reinstatement.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.