The Federal Bureau of Investigations has arrested a National Security Agency contractor on suspected theft of classified information. They are also now investigating links to a recent leak of hacking tools that were used to access computers from China and Russia, says Reuters.
Not The First Arrest
The arrest highlights the second occurrence of theft in just three years for the same consulting company contractor known as Booz Allen Hamilton. This contractor has been working for the NSA, and they are also the employer of the infamous Edward J. Snowden, says The New York Times.
Booz Allen Hamilton has already released a statement, reports Reuters. They stated that they had learned of the arrest and offered their full cooperation to the FBI. Unfortunately, their stocks have taken a hit since the arrest, closing at 3.8 percent down at $30.31 per share immediately after the arrest report was issued.
Who Is The Contractor?
The same article by the NY Times states that the contractor is known as Harold T. Martin III. He was originally from Maryland. According to Reuters, he is 51 years old and was taken into custody back in August.
The complaint was lodged in August and not unsealed until October. At the time of his arrest, he was working for the Defense Department. He was charged with theft of government property as well as the unauthorized removal of classified documents.
Martin has been charged by federal prosecutors, says The Atlantic. He also carried top-secret national security clearance.
While he initially denied taking the classified materials, he has later stated that he knew he should not have taken the documents because he was not authorized to do so.
While Martin is awaiting his trial, his defense attorney has made it clear to the public in an interview with The Atlantic that there is no evidence his client betrayed “his country.”
If he is convicted, he will face ten years for theft and an additional year for the removal of the documents.
Ironically, the same month that Martin was arrested, the NSA’s hacking tools were placed on public websites by a hacking group that named itself the Shadow Brokers, says Reuters. The NSA is still assessing the damage from Martin’s theft as well as the release of their hacking tools.
What Was Stolen?
The documents contained sensitive information. There were six in total, says Reuters. These materials discussed government sources, capabilities, and national security issues. The NY Times reports that there were thousands of pages of documents and dozens of computers at Martin’s home that were taken in the August 27th raid. The digital media that they took from his home contained terabytes of information as well.
The documents were source codes, according to The Daily Beast. The NSA developed these source codes to breach computer networks of countries like China, North Korea, Iran, and Russia.
Because there is heightened concern over hacking and political parties, this case is receiving extra attention. Also, when Snowden took classified documents and released them on the internet, he exposed the reach of the NSA’s surveillance programs.