National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Harold T. Martin, a former contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton, has been indicted for the alleged theft of government property, including files from the NSA, CIA and Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) detailing tactics and techniques for global digital surveillance. Having been arrested in August last year, Martin was rumored to be the subject of official charges earlier this week, which were confirmed today.
“The FBI investigation and this indictment reveal a broken trust from a security clearance holder,” said Gordon B. Johnson, special agent at the FBI Baltimore Division, in a statement today. “Willfully retaining highly classified national defense information in a vulnerable setting is a violation of the security policy and the law, which weakens our national security and cannot be tolerated.”
The indictment (published below, thanks to reporter Joseph Cox) reveals a handful of data Martin stands accused of pilfering and taking home between 1996 and 2016, during his various stints as a government contractor for different organizations. They included a 2014 report that outlined the NSA’s “foreign cyber intrusion techniques” and an “operational document concerning extremely sensitive U.S. planning and operations regarding global terrorists.” A guide for an NSA “intelligence-gathering tool” was also listed by prosecutors.
More recently, throughout 2016, Martin took four CYBERCOM files that contained information on the capabilities and targets of the U.S. military, the government claimed. A CIA file on foreign intelligence collection methods and sources was taken in 2007, according to the indictment.
Earlier this week, the Washington Post cited sources claiming Martin had stolen more than 75 percent of tools from the Tailored Access Operations’ hacking arsenal. TAO is the NSA’s main offensive cyber unit. No such allegation was included in today’s indictment, however.
Martin was also linked, by some reports, to the Shadow Brokers hacker crew, which leaked reams of NSA tools and exploits online last summer. But the Shadow Brokers have continued to use social media, Twitter in particular, in recent months, whilst Martin has been incarcerated.
His lawyers previously said Martin was not trying to do harm to his country, but was simply taking information home to learn outside of office hours. They described their client as a “compulsive hoarder,” not the next Edward Snowden. They had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication.
Martin faces a maximum 10 years in prison for each of 20 counts of willful retention of national defense information. He’s to stand before U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on February 14.
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