National Security

Former NSA Contractor Faces 200 Years In Prison For Stealing Classified Documents

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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A former National Security Agency contractor and naval officer faces up to 200 years in prison for allegedly stealing a massive amount of classified documents from the agency.

A federal grand jury charged Harold Martin, 52, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, with 20 counts of willful retention of national defense information Wednesday. Each count carries a possible 10 year sentence, meaning Martin could face a sentence of up to 200 years.

“The indictment alleges that for as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government by stealing documents containing highly classified information,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, as reported by Fifth Domain Wednesday.

Throughout his 20-year career, Martin stole various classified documents in both hard copy and digital formats, according to grand jury indictment. He is reportedly began his decades-long theft sometime in 1996, and continued to steal documents through — “on or about” — Aug. 27, 2016. In total, Martin is believed to have stolen around 50 terabytes of information related to U.S. cybersecurity and national defense.

Some of the stolen information included crucial NSA secrets, including an NSA user guide for intelligence gathering, an anti-terrorism operational document, a 2014 NSA report outlining intelligence on foreign issues and targeting information, and finally, a 2014 report on foreign cyber intrusion techniques and various other crucial pieces of information.

The indictment claimed that Martin kept the stolen information in his personal vehicle and residence, but the indictment contained no information as to whether or not he provided the classified information to a foreign government.

James Wyda, Martin’s attorney, described his client as a “compulsive hoarder” who never intended to do harm to U.S. national security by taking home classified documents.

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