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NSA Contractor Charged with Stealing Top Secret Documents

A National Security Agency (NSA) contractor in Maryland employed by Booz Allen Hamilton was charged with stealing highly classified documents.

Harold Thomas Martin, 51, was arrested in August after investigators found several classified printed documents and digital information at his house, including six with "sensitive sources, methods, and capabilities," according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

The DOJ charged Martin with theft of classified government material, according to the complaint, which was unsealed on Wednesday. The complaint did not specify Martin's alleged motive, and U.S. officials declined to say.

The DOJ statement goes on to say the documents' "unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the U.S."

The FBI is investigating possible links to the unprecedented breach of the NSA's hacking tools in early August, which included numerous previously unknown "zero day" exploits the agency's hackers could use to more easily break into targeted computers. The leaked files appeared online in a bizarre auction by a group calling itself "The Shadow Brokers," though some suspected an insider was responsible.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit by Special Agent Jeremy Bucalo, “Martin at first denied, and then later when confronted with specific documents, admitted he took documents and digital files from his work assignment to his residence and vehicle that he knew were classified.”

In addition to documents, investigators also say Martin stole US government property that was valued in excess of $1,000.

Martin worked at the same consulting firm that employed Edward Snowden when he revealed the vast collection of metadata by the NSA in 2013.

Yet, unlike Snowden, Martin is "suspected of taking the highly classified 'source code' developed by the agency to break into computer systems of adversaries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea," reports The New York Times.

On Twitter Wednesday, Snowden said that calling him and Martin the same over their shared employer is "lazy," though Booz Allen's unique position with the NSA is worth investigating.

edward snowden booz allen martin twitter status

Booz Allen said in a statement that when the company "learned of the arrest of one of its employees by the FBI," they immediately fired him and offered full cooperation to the FBI.

If convicted, Martin faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison for the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials and ten years in prison for theft of government property. An initial appearance was held for Martin in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Aug. 29, 2016. Martin remains detained.

Posted in The Takedown

Tags: FBI, Edward Snowden, NSA, National Security Agency, hacking

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