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NSA Contractor Arrested, Charged with Removal of Classified Documents

NSA Contractor Arrested, Charged with Removal of Classified Documents

Based on the alleged evidence, no chance of a “Hillary defense” on this one

The United States District Court in Baltimore has charged a Maryland government contractor with the removal of classified documents and theft of government property for allegedly possessing paper and digital classified materials, including “highly classified computer code developed to hack into the networks of foreign governments.”

The Washington Post reports:

A federal contractor suspected of leaking powerful National Security Agency hacking tools has been arrested and charged with stealing classified information from the U.S. government, according to court records and a law enforcement official familiar with the case.

Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, authorities said. He was arrested in August after investigators searched his home in Glen Burnie, Md., and found documents and digital information stored on various devices that contained highly classified information, authorities said.

Martin is a “decorated former Naval officer and reservist with a broad interest in cyber issues”.

WaPo continues:

His attorney said he was a Navy lieutenant, and records show he served for more than a decade, spending some years on the USS Seattle before ultimately ending his military career in the inactive reserves. Among the awards he received were a Joint Meritorious Unit Award, a Navy Expeditionary Medal and a National Defense Service Medal.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Martin was in a computing PhD program at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and he had studied software and security engineering at George Mason University and economics and math at the University of Wisconsin. He wrote that his goal was “to advance state of the art in several areas of computing practices in the public/private sector.”

While there is speculation that Martin intended to do harm to national security, his lawyers argue that this is not the case.

Federal public defender Jim Wyda and first assistant federal public defender Deborah Boardman, who are representing Martin, said in a statement that the charges against Martin were “mere allegations” and they had not yet seen prosecutors’ evidence.

“There is no evidence that Hal Martin intended to betray his country. What we do know is that Hal Martin loves his family and his country,” the attorneys said. “He served honorably in the United States Navy as a lieutenant and he has devoted his entire career to protecting his country. We look forward to defending Hal Martin in court.”

Prosecutors did not reveal in the criminal complaint against Martin what precisely they recovered, though they alleged that some documents were produced in 2014 and were “critical to a wide variety of national security issues.” Martin’s motive, if he in fact removed the materials, also was unclear. The complaint alleged that Martin initially denied to investigators he took documents home, but once confronted with specific examples, admitted he did so and that he knew the materials were classified. The complaint alleged Martin “stated that he knew what he had done was wrong.”

The investigation includes determining whether or not these classified materials were disclosed and if so, to whom or to what entities.  However, an administration official said that “it did not look like an espionage case.”

The New York Times reports:

Officials said Mr. Martin did not fit any of the usual profiles of an “insider threat,” and it is unclear whether he had political motives, as Mr. Snowden did when he exposed programs that he said violated the privacy of American citizens.

An administration official said the case had been handled secretively not in order “to keep this guy from becoming another N.S.A. martyr,” but because it was a continuing law enforcement case and the hope was that Mr. Martin would cooperate. The official said investigators suspected that Mr. Martin might have taken the material before Mr. Snowden’s actions became public.

The official said that at the moment it did not look like an espionage case, but added the caveat that it is a continuing investigation.

The DOJ issued a statement detailing the searches executed by federal officials and the affidavit filed:

A criminal complaint has been filed charging Harold Thomas Martin III, age 51, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials by a government employee or contractor. According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Martin was a contractor with the federal government and had a top secret national security clearance. Martin was arrested late on August 27, 2016.  The complaint was filed on August 29, 2016, and unsealed today.

. . . .  According to the affidavit, on August 27, 2016, search warrants were executed at Martin’s residence in Glen Burnie, including two storage sheds, as well as upon his vehicle and person.  During execution of the warrants, 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.

The complaint alleges that among the classified documents found in the search were six classified documents obtained from sensitive intelligence and produced by a government agency in 2014. These documents were produced through sensitive government sources, methods, and capabilities, which are critical to a wide variety of national security issues. The disclosure of the documents would reveal those sensitive sources, methods, and capabilities.

The documents have been reviewed by a person designated as an original classification authority, and in each instance, the authority has determined that the documents are currently and properly classified as Top Secret, meaning that unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.

The DOJ also details possible sentences that Martin faces: “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.”

The Obama administration has yet to issue a statement.


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Wah? I thought this sort of thing wasn’t illegal any more. You can’t prove intent, right? Maybe just cut an immunity deal with him and destroy the evidence. It’s all good.

My guess is that his computers were about 1000x more secure that Hillary’s server! After all, she was only SoS.

So, how does the FBI know when to enforce these laws and when to issue a pass? That must be a difficult decision. Perhaps not.

legacyrepublican | October 6, 2016 at 9:03 am

After the FBI investigates, no reasonable prosecutor would press charges.

FBI will grant immunity if Mr. Martin will allow them to destroy his computer.

The only time I had Federal law enforcement pounce on me was when I was driving onto an air base. Two Keystone Kops asked if they could inspect my car. I asked what they were looking for; they said, stolen government property.

Now, what sort of criminal mastermind would be sneaking stolen government property onto a military base? The smart operators try to sneak the stuff out.

I didn’t point that out, but just let them search the car. Of course nothing came of it and I still got into work on time. But if my experience is remotely typical, I have to wonder what one has to do to actually get caught by these guys.

How about the Sandy Berger defense?

Run for president and gain immunity.

Or just pay off Comey – he seems to be for sale as much as Hillary Clinton.