Former NSA contractor Harold Martin, arrested by the FBI in August in connection to stealing an “astonishing quantity” of classified information over a period of two decades, is facing a charge in violating the Espionage Act. It is also reported he possessed an “arsenal” of weapons at home and communicated online with unknown individuals in Russian and other languages.
Martin is now in custody in Baltimore pending a trial, and prosecutors are trying not to let him out on bail, for fear he might still release the files he has been backing up in encrypted cyberspace storage.
Newly released court documents reveal more details into Martin’s case
It is believed that while at the NSA, he was working for an elite hacking unite known as TAO – and just like the infamous fugitive Edward Snowden, Martin was a contractor for the consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton.
According to court documents, investigators seized thousands of pages of documents and dozens of digital storage devices containing, conservatively, fifty terabytes of information (1 TB drive can fit between 500 to 1000 movies). This is thought to be the largest theft of classified information in U.S. history.
There were also “six full banker’s boxes worth of documents” seized from his home and car, many of them marked “Secret” and “Top Secret.” Apparently he has been collecting these files since 1996 and through 2016, spanning 20 years worth of sensitive information.
Some documents contain handwritten notes on the back detailing some of the NSA’s technical operations. According to authorities, they were written in a way as if “intended for an audience outside of the intelligence community unfamiliar with the details.”
Apparently Martin, now 51, also learnt Russian at some point and “has communicated online with others in languages other than English, including Russian”
According to a court report, the ex NSA contractor was using sophisticated encryption technologies in order to leave no digital footprint online, and engaged in encrypted communication with unknown players.
The government believes Martin certainly had the knowledge to store all the stolen information in cyberspace, where he could easily access it any time with the help of a wi fi connection. It is still unclear whether Martin leaked any information.
The investigation is ongoing, and the amount of evidence case is described as overwhelming.
You can read the full court document here.