The FBI arrested an NSA contractor accused of stealing secrets

Within the past few weeks, the federal government arrested an NSA contractor, alleging he stole classified material.
October 5, 2016, 6:30pm
Le campus de la National Security Agency à Fort Meade, Maryland. (Photo par Patrick Semansky/AP)

In 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who was working for the private sector military corporation Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked a trove of documents, highlighting the expansive surveillance capabilities of the federal government.

Today, the Justice Department said in a press release that the FBI in August arrested a Maryland-based contractor, Harold Thomas Martin III, for "theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials." The New York Timesfirst reported that the FBI had made an arrest, and said that the bureau's suspect was a contractor working for Booz Allen.

"The complaint alleges that among the classified documents found in the search were six classified documents obtained from sensitive intelligence and produced by a government agency in 2014," the release said. "If convicted, Martin faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison for the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials and 10 years in prison for theft of government property."

It's unclear yet what documents and tools the government is accusing Martin of stealing. One possible connection is a Reuters story from last month that said an NSA operative's error allowed NSA hacking tools to be stolen by outsiders.

At the time, Reuters said, "Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the former NSA person... left the tools exposed deliberately."

Martin was arrested around the same time that hackers dumped the NSA tools onto the open market.

Booz Allen spokesperson Kimberly West declined to comment at the time of publication.