October 6, 2016 by

FBI Arrests NSA Contractor Accused of Classified Material Theft

The FBI has secretly arrested an NSA federal contractor in August after the accused was alleged to have stolen top secret intelligence material and a hacking tool developed by the agency.

Harold Thomas Martin III, a 51-year-old Maryland man has been charged with a criminal complaint that alleges theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, by a government employee or contractor.

Arrested on August 27, 2016, the complaint was filed two days later before being unsealed on Wednesday, October 5.

Martin’s residence saw search warrants issued on August 27, wherein investigators discovered hard copy documents as well as digital data stored on different devices and removal digital media.

A press release by the Justice Department revealed the recovered materials from Martin’s residence and vehicle bore markings that indicated that they were property of the United States, containing highly classified information of the United States. This includes Top Secret and sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), the search revealed.

Discovered data included six classified documents procured from a sensitive intelligence operation by a government agency in 2014. The documents, the complaint states, were critical to a “wide variety of national security issues.”

An excerpt from the press release adds:

The documents have been reviewed by a person designated as an original classification authority, and in each instance, the authority has determined that the documents are currently and properly classified as Top Secret, meaning that unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.

Martin is currently detained and faces a maximum sentence of a year in prison for the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials. Notably, he also faces ten years in prison for the theft of government property.

Meanwhile, FBI investigators haven’t determined the reasons for Martin’s motivation with stealing the documents, according to CCN. Perhaps more crucially, the Bureau does not believe that Martin stole the documents for a foreign country.

Image credit: Wikimedia.

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