Government alleges former NSA contractor stole ‘astonishing quantity’ of classified data over 20 years
The National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
[The Central Security Service website]
Federal prosecutors in Baltimore on Thursday [Oct. 20] said they will charge a former National Security Agency contractor with violating the Espionage Act, alleging that he made off with “an astonishing quantity” of classified digital and other data over 20 years in what is thought to be the largest theft of classified government material ever.
In a 12-page memo, U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein and two other prosecutors laid out a much more far-reaching case against Harold T. Martin III than was previously outlined. They say he took at least 50 terabytes of data and “six full banker’s boxes worth of documents,” with many lying open in his home office or kept on his car’s back seat and in the trunk. Other material was stored in a shed on his property.
One terabyte is the equivalent of 500 hours’ worth of movies.
Martin, who will appear at a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Friday, also took personal information about government employees as well as dozens of computers, thumb drives and other digital storage devices, the government memo said.
The government has not alleged that Martin passed any material to a foreign government, but contends that if he is released on bail he could do so…
In a complaint unsealed earlier this month, the government charged him with felony theft of government property and the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, a misdemeanor. The prosecutors said that when an indictment is filed, they expect charges to include “violations of the Espionage Act,” offenses that carry a prison term of up to 10 years for each count.
[NSA contractor thought to have taken classified material the old-fashioned way]
The government alleged that Martin was able to defeat “myriad, expensive controls placed” on classified information [emphasis added, what “controls”?].
They said the devices seized show he made extensive use of sophisticated encryption. He also used a sophisticated software tool that runs without being installed on a computer and provides anonymous Internet access, “leaving no digital footprint on the machine,” they said.
In August, a cache of highly sensitive NSA hacking tools mysteriously appeared online. Although investigators have not found conclusive evidence that he was responsible for that, he is the prime suspect, said U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
That is the event that set off the search that turned up Martin, the officials said…