The National Security Agency in Ft. Meade, Maryland.Wikimedia Commons
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A government contractor with top-secret clearance was arrested in late August and criminally charged with “unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials by a government employee or contractor,” according to the Department of Justice.
The New York Times reported that the worker was a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor working on behalf of the National Security Agency.
“I can’t think of any prosecutions that have had at least the speculation of the large scale insider threat that The New York Times appears to be saying,” Susan Hennessey, the managing editor of Lawfare and a former attorney at the Office of General Counsel at the NSA, told Ars.
A Wednesday press release issued by the United States Attorney in Maryland says that Harold Thomas Martin III was arrested on August 27 and charged two days later.
The criminal complaint was unsealed Wednesday.
It’s not yet clear what exactly Martin is alleged to have taken.
A statement provided by Martin’s unnamed lawyers to The New York Times declares, “We have not seen any evidence.
But what we know is that Hal Martin loves his family and his country.
There is no evidence that he intended to betray his country.”
Prosecutors note in the press release that “search warrants were executed” at Martin’s home, car, and two storage sheds.
Investigators “located hard copy documents and digital information stored on various devices and removable digital media.”
A large percentage of the materials recovered from Martin’s residence and vehicle bore markings indicating that they were property of the United States and contained highly classified information of the United States, including Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI).
In addition, investigators located property of the United States with an aggregate value in excess of $1,000, which Martin allegedly stole.
According to the complaint, Martin “voluntary agreed to be interviewed” by federal agents and first denied that he took the documents without authorization but then changed his tune:
MARTIN stated that he knew he did not have authorization to retain the materials at his residence or in his vehicle. MARTIN stated that he knew what he had done was wrong and that he should not have done it because he knew it was unauthorized.
In recent years, there have been several unsolved leaks of classified material, including a source that provided intelligence materials that were published by German magazine Der Spiegel.
In August 2016, there was the “Shadow Brokers” dump of NSA exploits. Neither leak has been definitively attributed.
If found guilty, Martin could face a maximum sentence of more than a decade in prison.