Former NSA Contractor Faces 30 years In Prison For Data Theft

Harold Thomas Martin, a former NSA employee has gotten himself in quite a bit of trouble since departing the agency. Federal prosecutors claim to have evidence of him stealing classified information. In fact, this indictment marks the largest classified information theft in US history, as several terabytes of data may have been obtained illegally. An intriguing story that puts the NSA in an even worse spotlight than before.

NSA Contractor Takes Home National Security Data

The first question that comes to most people’s minds is how anyone could obtain such a  vast amount of sensitive information in the first place. Harold T. Martin III is a former NSA contractor who – allegedly – stole over 50 TB of information belonging to the national security agency. It remains unclear what information has been stolen exactly, though.

Interestingly enough, Martin has been arrested a few months ago. On August 29, 2016, police officials raided his home and took him into custody due to this impending NSA investigation. Ever since that time, he has been held at a detention facility. His request to be released was denied by a District Judge, as he is allegedly a flight risk. At this point, it appears the US legal system wants to make an example of Martin.

The US government charged Martin with felony theft of government property, as well as unauthorized retention of classified materials. It is possible additional charges will be added to this list, though. The prosecutors feel confident the charges of violating the Espionage Act will stick, which would add another 10 years in prison to Martin’s sentence. It is expected his total sentence will be close to 30 years in prison, albeit that remains up to the judge.

As one would come to expect from such a case, the prosecution feels Martin is a threat to national security. Their findings are not entirely unfounded either, as over 50 TB of NSA data can contain a lot of sensitive and valuable information. Should those details fall into the wrong hands, one never knows how things will play out. Moreover, it seems Martin has been stealing data over a span of twenty years, as he worked with various federal agencies in the process.

The stolen data is not the only part that has the prosecution concerned. It is believed Martin also took home several thousands of pages related to classified material. It is rather strange to think someone working for the NSA as a contractor would be given physical and digital access to information subject to “special handling caveats”. Then again, no one saw a problem with doing so until things went awry.

Although most of the details related to this investigation remain shrouded in mystery, some experts claim Martin took home over 75% of major hacking tools. If that were to be the case, the bigger question becomes whether or not these details have been sold to foreign nations in the process. More information related to this investigation will be revealed in the coming months.

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