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Government Contractor Accused of Stealing NSA Cyber Secrets

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A federal grand jury has indicted former government contractor Harold Thomas Martin III with willful retention of classified national security information, including information about the National Security Agency’s cyber capabilities and its targets.

Martin worked for at least seven private contractors since 1993, placing him in several defense and intelligence agencies that require security clearances. Sometime in 1996, he starting stealing classified information and keeping it in his Maryland home and in his vehicles, according to the indictment.

The Justice Department indictment said some of the information Martin took included:

  • A 2014 NSA leadership briefing for “a specific NSA organization.”
  • Multiple NSA reports on “foreign cyber issues,” including targeting and techniques.
  • A 2009 U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive draft of defensive methods, capabilities, techniques, process and procedures.
  • An NSA Threat Operations Center progress report.
  • An NSA user’s guide for an intelligence-gathering tool.
  • Multiple Cyber Command operational documents.
  • A National Reconnaissance Office document with information on an intelligence-gathering satellite and an “unacknowledged” ground station.
  • A CIA document on foreign intelligence collection sources and methods.

“Martin allegedly violated the trust our nation put in him by stealing and retaining classified documents and other material relating to the national defense,” said Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general for national security. “Insider threats are a significant danger to our national security and we will continue to work relentlessly with our law enforcement and intelligence partners to identify, pursue and prosecute such individuals.”

Martin faces 20 counts of willful retention and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each one. He remains detained and is scheduled for initial appearance in district court Feb. 14.

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