A federal district judge in Phoenix threw out a lawsuit Monday that accused The Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica of defaming a government contractor who helped a Chinese national gain access to a counterterrorism center.

The lawsuit stemmed from an August 2014 story published by the two nonprofit newsrooms that revealed an apparent security breach at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, an intelligence center set up by state and local authorities after the 9/11 terror attacks. A Chinese national worked at the facility as a computer programmer for five months in 2007, allowing him access to the Arizona driver's license database and potentially to a roster of intelligence analysts and investigators.

The contract employee then suddenly returned home to Beijing, taking two laptops and additional hard drives with him. The possible breach, which could have affected as many as 5 million Arizona residents, was not reported to the state's attorney general.

ProPublica and CIR were represented in the case by David Bodney of Ballard Spahr LLP.

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