(Bloomberg) -- A trio of former U.S. intelligence agents admitted on Tuesday to hacking for the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. accused Marc Baier, Ryan Adams and Daniel Gericke of sharing critical U.S. defense technology and secrets with government agencies in the UAE and at least one unnamed private company, in a criminal complaint that charged them with violating U.S. hacking and arms trafficking laws.

Their operation began in October 2015 when they were among several employees of an unnamed U.S. firm offered lucrative jobs in the UAE to work on cyber-intelligence, according to the complaint, filed in San Francisco federal court. By February 2016, they had accepted the jobs and were using their contacts in the U.S. to obtain restricted intelligence on behalf of their new employer. 

Later that year, Baier persuaded another U.S. company to sell him a cyberweapon known as zero-click malware, which allows hackers to remotely infiltrate individual devices without their owners’ engagement, according to the U.S. The $750,000 deal was executed that year, and the technology was weaponized as a tool called Karma, detailed in a 2019 report by Reuters, which reported the charges earlier Tuesday.

In a parallel document filed to the court, the defendants admitted to the Justice Department’s claims as part of an agreement to defer their prosecution. The agreement requires that all three quit their jobs in the UAE, cut off any affiliation with that government within 60 days and provide a report of their dealings to the FBI within 90 days. 

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