Twelve years ago on a June evening, Katya Komisaruk embarked on a dangerous mission that would both mark her as a convicted felon and launch her career as a lawyer.

Armed with a bolt cutter, a crow bar and an electric drill — as well as a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolate chip cookies and some stationery — the 29-year-old peace activist broke into Vandenburg Air Force Base on the Central Coast and dismantled a multimillion dollar computer.