|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Oct 20, 2016 10:34 PM EDT|
(Photo : FBI) Harold Martin
U.S. federal authorities confirm that Harold T. Martin III, a civilian contractor that worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) before being arrested last August, is responsible for the largest theft of classified information in the history of the United States.
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That breathtaking haul of secret military and government information lasted for over 20 years and was described by federal prosecutors as "an astonishing quantity." The only silver lining in this incredible failure of U.S. counter intelligence is that Martin apparently isn't a spy working for either China or Russia. The government hasn't alleged that Martin passed any material to a foreign government.
Martin, 51, did technology work for Booz Allen Hamilton, an American management consulting firm headquartered in Virginia. Edward Snowden, another infamous leaker of stolen U.S. government secrets, also worked for Booz Allen.
Government sources said Martin was probably in it for the money but can be 100% sure this is the case. What led to Martin's arrest was a baffling leak last August that saw secret NSA hacking tools being sold online.
Among these tools Martin sold online included "exploits" that take advantage of unknown flaws in firewalls, allowing the government to control a network. They were posted online by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers, which authorities believes is Martin himself.
Experts said the tools stolen and placed online by Martin could allow targets of NSA spying to determine they were being hacked by the NSA. Some foreign spy agencies might be able to reconfigure the tools to use against the NSA.
The FBI last August charged Martin with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials.
Martin, who has top secret clearance, was arrested after FBI agents raided his home in Maryland. Investigators found documents and digital information stored on various devices containing highly classified information they initially said dated back only to 2014.
They were wrong. Deeper investigation revealed thefts dating back over 20 years, a time span covering most of Martin's employment with Booz Hamilton.
Federal prosecutors in Baltimore on Oct. 20 said they will charge Martin with violating the Espionage Act. In a 12-page memo, U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein and two other prosecutors laid out a far larger case against Martin than was previously outlined.
They said Martin took at least 50 terabytes of data and "six full banker's boxes worth of documents." Some of this classified material was in his home office or kept on his car's back seat and in the trunk. Other material was stored in a shed on his property.
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