Did he steal secrets? Are we in danger? Ex-NSA Big allegedly steals 500 million secret docs

The contractor’s lawyer claims he is a hoarder, not a thief

A former private contractor for the National Security Agency was indicted Wednesday on charges that he mishandled classified materials, after more than 500 million pages of allegedly stolen documents were found in his car and home.

Harold T. Martin III, who worked for Booz Allen, the same consulting firm where Edward Snowden was working when a leaked a massive trove of classified information to journalists, faces 20 counts of willful retention of national defense information, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Investigators found that Martin was in possession of the documents — which are believed to have been stolen between 1996 and 2016 — during a probe into suspected leaks of classified NSA “hacking tools” that presented a serious security threat.

Martin was first charged in October 2016. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the indictment does not reference all of the earlier allegations. The indictment is for the retention of the documents, and makes no mention of possible spying or colluding with foreign governments — or that he gave away any documents at all.

Martin could face 200 years in prison — up to ten years for each count — if he is found guilty.

Gordon Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office, told the Times that Martin’s actions  “reveal a broken trust from a security clearance holder.”

Martin’s defense attorney, James Wyda, has maintained that Martin is not guilty of willful wrongdoing. Wyda reportedly described his client as a “compulsive hoarder” with no intent to harm his country. Instead, he took massive amounts of work documents home to study and digest so he could do his job more effectively.

The documents stowed at Martin’s residence reportedly information on foreign cyber intrusion techniques, information about the launch of an intelligence collection satellite, and an NSA document on planning and operations concerning suspected terrorists.

Martin is due for an initial court appearance on February 14.


Photo: Anne Arundel County Police