Former Kansas City FBI analyst sentenced to prison for hoarding secret documents
Kendra Kingsbury worked as an FBI intelligence analyst for 12 years. Over that time, prosecutors say she illegally collected dozens of intelligence documents including some containing information about al-Qaida members.
A former intelligence analyst in the FBI's Kansas City field office who had top secret security clearance was sentenced Wednesday to 46 months in prison for illegally possessing secret documents.
Kendra Kingsbury, 50, worked for the FBI for 12 years. Almost from the day she started working, she started illegally taking sensitive documents home, prosecutors said. Some of those documents were found in her home office and bathroom.
“Anyone who was in her home could have stumbled across these documents,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Edwards at Kingsbury's sentencing at the federal courthouse downtown.
Kingsbury pleaded guilty last October to two counts of unlawfully retaining documents related to the national defense. Former President Donald Trump is charged with 31 counts of the same crime.
Federal prosecutors charged Kingsbury with hoarding documents about major threats to U.S. security.
“The documents include information about al-Qaida members on the African continent, including a suspected associate of Osama bin Laden," officials wrote in her indictment. "In addition, there are documents regarding the activities of emerging terrorists and their efforts to establish themselves in support of al-Qaida in Africa."
Kingsbury's lawyer, a federal public defender, asked for probation, admitting in a sentencing memo that this was “a serious offense” but saying imprisonment was unnecessary.
Kingsbury cried while she read a handwritten statement to U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough. She said she came to her sentencing "as a woman with her head held up and her eyes looking forward." Kingsbury said she filed a complaint against the FBI with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and said she was the victim of "failed leadership and a reprehensible culture."
Kingsbury had family and friends in the court.
“Ms. Kingsbury suffered from extensive health issues and family tragedies throughout her tenure with the FBI,” her lawyer argued in a memo. In fact, the memo said, Kingsbury, “with no outside prompting,” disclosed to the FBI that she had classified materials in her home.
That argument rang hollow with the government.
“The event that caused the defendant to disclose her illegal activity was the defendant’s concern that she was being followed and surveilled,” the U.S. Attorney’s office wrote in its memo.
Prosecutors also stressed that Kingsbury called “phone numbers associated with counterterrorism subjects during her employment with the FBI," but admitted they didn't know why.
The FBI's lead investigator on the case, Agent Joel Feekes, testified he subpoenaed Kingsbury's bank records but "didn't see any unexplained income."
Judge Bough said before sentencing Kingsbury that he couldn't fathom why she would hoard secret documents.
"It was all information designed to protect the American people from terrorists," he said.
Kingsbury has been ordered to report to prison on July 21.