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Hawaii woman gets 90 days in jail in embassy documents case

COURTESY STAFF SGT. KAYLEE CLARK/U.S. INDO-PACIFIC COMMAND / 2018
                                Asia Lavarello served as executive assistant at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.
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COURTESY STAFF SGT. KAYLEE CLARK/U.S. INDO-PACIFIC COMMAND / 2018

Asia Lavarello served as executive assistant at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.

A Honolulu woman who pleaded guilty to taking classified documents while working at the U.S. Embassy in Manila was sentenced today to 90 days in jail.

Asia Janay Lavarello pleaded guilty last year to one count of knowingly removing classified information, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. She removed “certain classified documents” from the embassy before hosting a dinner party in her hotel room, with guests including three American co-workers and two foreign nationals, her plea agreement said.

One of the Americans discovered documents marked “secret” in her bedroom during the party, according to the agreement filed in court.

Lavarello was a Department of Defense civilian employee working as the executive assistant to the Commander for the United States Indo-Pacific Command Joint Intelligence Operation Center, where she maintained top secret security clearance, court documents said.

In 2020, she took a six-month temporary duty assignment in the Philippines. She was also a student at National Intelligence University, according to her plea agreement.

Her attorney, Birney Bervar, said Lavarello apologizes and takes responsibility. He said she wasn’t planning to do anything malicious with the documents, which he described as theses by other people that she was using as models for her own.

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