Two Decades Theft of Classified Data Leads Ex-NSA Contractor Plead Guilty


A former National Security Agency Contractor (NSA) has been pleaded guilty of classified data theft, an enormous amount of the sensitive data from the agency and then keeping them with him at his home and car for over two decades. The burglary has been termed as the largest one in the America’s history where a lump sum of classified government material has been stolen. The accused has been identified as Harold Thomas Martin III who is a 54 year old Navy veteran from Glen Burnie who abused his top secret security clearances to steal at least 50 Terabytes of classified national defence data from the government computers for over 20 years while working for the various NSA departments between 1996 and 2016.

In the month of August 2016, the FBI arrested Martin from his residence in Maryland from where they found out six full bankers’ boxes worth of documents many of which were marked as “Secret” and “Top Secret” in his home and car. It was known that at the time of his arrest, Martin also worked for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp, the same company where Edward Snowden was employed.

Initially, Martin was charged with 20 counts of violating the Espionage Act. But he was not pleaded guilty at that time and was due for trial in the June 2019. Soon after the prosecutors announced that Martin would be arraigned again, he admitted his crimes in a federal district court on Thursday and was pleaded guilty to a single charge of the willing retention of the defence information. In return, the federal prosecutors have dropped the remaining 19 charges against the accused and in turn recommended a 9 year sentence of imprisonment and three years of the supervised release. The classified data theft was due to the extreme precaution he took while removing the files from the safe place to his residence.


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