NSA contractor indicted for theft of classified data

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A former National Security Agency contractor was indicted on Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges he willfully retained national defense information, in what U.S. officials have said may have been the largest heist of classified government information in history.The indictment alleges that Harold Thomas Martin, 52, spent up to 20 years stealing highly sensitive government material from the U.S. intelligence community related to national defense, collecting a trove of secrets he hoarded at his home in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Martin faces 20 criminal counts, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, the Justice Department said. “For as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government,” said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein. Martin worked for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp when he was taken into custody last August. The contractor also employed Edward Snowden, who leaked a trove of secret files to news organizations in 2013 that exposed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the NSA. A Booz Allen spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment on Martin’s indictment. Booz Allen announced last October that it had hired former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller to lead an audit of its security, personnel and management practices. The indictment provided a lengthy list of documents Martin is alleged to have stolen from multiple intelligence agencies, including 2014 NSA reports detailing intelligence information “regarding foreign cyber issues” that contained targeting information and “foreign cyber intrusion techniques.” The list of pilfered documents included in the indictment stretch back to an August 1996 NSA weekly status summary of national defense concerns “emanating from various parts of the world.” It also alleges Martin stole an NSA user’s guide for an unnamed intelligence-gathering tool and an outline of a classified real-world exercise that involved the NSA and U.S. military demonstrating existing cyber intelligence capabilities. Martin’s initial appearance in the U.S. District Court of Baltimore was scheduled for Tuesday, the Justice Department said.