A federal grand jury has indicted a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor for stealing national defense information over the past 20 years.
The indictment (PDF
) alleges that Harold Thomas Martin, 52, collected a number of government secrets while employed as a private contractor for various government agencies. He began lifting the documents in December 1993 and continued to do so until 27 August 2016. The FBI arrested
Martin less than two months after that.
The documents stolen by Martin pertain to multiple U.S. government agencies. More than half of the 20 items for which the man is being charged relate to the NSA. Many of those papers contain information on the intelligence organization's digital techniques and computer network operations (CNO) capabilities.
The United States District Court for Maryland makes no mention of the Shadow Brokers in its indictment. As a result, it's unclear whether Martin helped or is a member of the mysterious collective that leaked exploit code believed to belong to the Equation Group
back in the summer of 2016. At least some U.S. officials anonymously told The Washington Post
that he was the prime suspect for those leaks.
If Martin aided the Shadow Brokers, however, he wasn't alone. The group continued to post classified information through January 2017
. Someone from the group even wrote in an encrypted message back in December that "TheShadowBrokers no arrested," as quoted by Motherboard
Other materials stolen by Martin relate to the CIA, USCYBERCOM, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Intelligence Community, and the National Reconnaissance Office.
Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord says the indictment demonstrates the United States government will continue to oppose disclosures like these in the future. As quoted in a statement
published by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland:
“As a private contractor who worked on classified programs at various U.S. government agencies, the defendant was entrusted with access to sensitive government materials. Martin allegedly violated the trust our nation put in him by stealing and retaining classified documents and other material relating to the national defense. 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.”
In total, Martin stole 20 classified documents for which he's being charged. If convicted, the man could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of those items.