FBI arrests contractor for stealing secrets

The FBI arrested a Maryland contractor and charged him with stealing national security data.

NSA headquarters

The National Security Agency has again been the target of an insider threat.

The FBI has arrested a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor for stealing and storing classified government material.

The criminal complaint, which was filed by federal authorities on Aug. 29 but released publicly on Oct. 5, charges 51-year-old Harold Thomas Martin III with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials by a government employee or contractor.

The criminal complaint does not name the source of the data, but the New York Times reported that the contractor had taken it from the National Security Agency. Martin allegedly stole software used to hack into computer systems of foreign adversaries, including China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

There is no indication yet if Martin's alleged misdeeds are linked to the leak of zero-day vulnerabilities in the so-called Shadow Brokers disclosures in August. That cache of hacking exploits, published online, included software designed to take over leading brands of internet firewalls and routers.

In a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Booz Allen officials said they cooperated with the FBI investigation and terminated Martin's employment.

"We continue to cooperate fully with the government on its investigation into this serious matter," the disclosure states. "There have been no material changes to our client engagements as a result of this matter."

Booz Allen also employed Edward Snowden, who leaked a trove of classified NSA and other intelligence community documents to the press in 2013.

According to the affidavit backing the complaint, Martin was a contractor with the federal government and had a top secret security clearance. He was arrested on Aug. 27.

That day, the Justice Department said agents searched Martin; his residence in Glen Burnie, Md.; two storage sheds; and his vehicle. According to the complaint, investigators found hard-copy documents and digital information on various devices and removable media.

A large percentage of the materials found in Martin's home and vehicle had markings indicating that they were the property of the U.S. government and contained highly classified information, the complaint states.

Among the classified documents were six that contained sensitive intelligence critical to a variety of national security issues and produced by a government agency in 2014.

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