A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former National Security Agency contractor on multiple charges of stealing numerous highly-classified documents over two decades, including details of US cyber weapons and their vulnerabilities, overseas intelligence targets and the location of a previously undisclosed listening post.
Harold T Martin, 52, a US Navy veteran, removed without authorisation documents belonging to some of the US government’s most secretive organisations, including the National Security Agency, US Cyber Command, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office, which commands the nation’s spy satellites, the indictment says.
FBI agents who arrested him in August found thousands of classified documents stored in his home and car, both in paper and digital form, it is alleged.
“Martin allegedly violated the trust our nation put in him by stealing and retaining classified documents and other material relating to the national defence,” said Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney-general for national security.
The indictment was signed by Rod Rosenstein, the US Attorney for Maryland, who has been nominated to become deputy attorney-general in the Trump administration. Mr Rosenstein said the defendant, who remains in custody, “flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government”.
Mr Martin is accused of 20 counts of wilful retention of national defence information. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 200 years in prison.
Deborah Boardman, a federal public defender who is representing him, declined to comment. The defendant is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday before US Magistrate Judge A David Copperthite in Baltimore. A judge in October declined Mr Martin’s request to be released on bail pending trial.
“There is no evidence he intended to betray his country,” his attorneys said in an October 20 court filing.
Mr Martin worked at the time of his arrest for Booz Allen Hamilton, a national security contractor based in McLean, Virginia, which also employed former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Mr Snowden fled the country in 2013 after stealing classified documents detailing US government electronic surveillance programmes.
Booz Allen fired Mr Martin “as soon as we learned of his arrest” and co-operated with the FBI investigation, spokesman Craig Veith said last year. In October, the company said it had hired former FBI director Robert Mueller to conduct a review of its security practices. The company on Wednesday did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Over a 23-year career, Mr Martin worked for seven private companies that assigned him to work with the US Department of Defense and the intelligence community, according to the indictment. He possessed a Top Secret security clearance and “worked on a number of highly classified, specialised projects and had access to government computer systems”, the indictment says.
Prosecutors have yet to say whether they suspect Mr Martin of passing any of the pilfered material to foreign intelligence services. But the indictment details a massive haul of classified material that he allegedly removed from government installations.
One NSA document contained “extremely sensitive US planning and operations regarding global terrorists”. Mr Martin also is accused of removing a March 2014 “NSA leadership briefing outlining the development and future plans for a specific NSA organisation” and a separate “NSA User’s Guide” for an intelligence-gathering tool.
His alleged thievery continued until days before his August 29 arrest, according to the indictment. He also is accused of taking a US Cyber Command document dated August 17 detailing “capabilities and gaps in capabilities of the US military and details of specific operations”, according to the indictment.
Source: Financial Times