The Slatest

An NSA Contractor Has Been Arrested for Allegedly Stealing State Secrets

The seals of the U.S. Cyber Command, the National Secrity Agency, and the Central Security Service outside the campus the organizations share in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The New York Times reported Wednesday morning that the FBI quietly arrested a contractor “in recent weeks” who it had been investigating for allegedly stealing computer codes used by the NSA to hack into the systems of countries including China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Wednesday afternoon, a press release from the Department of Justice confirmed the arrest of one Harold Thomas Martin III and offered vague information about what was recovered from his home in Glen Burnie, Maryland, on Aug. 27:

During execution of the warrants, investigators located hard-copy documents and digital information stored on various devices and removable digital media. A large percentage of the materials recovered from Martin’s residence and vehicle bore markings indicating they were the property of the U.S. government and contained highly classified information, including Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). In addition, investigators located property of the U.S. government in excess of $1,000, which Martin allegedly stole.

The release goes on to say that six classified documents allegedly “critical to a wide variety of national security issues” were also recovered and that the disclosure of those documents would reveal the “sensitive sources, methods, and capabilities” involved in creating them.

Martin was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents. The anonymous government source who spoke to the Times does not seem to think Martin was politically motivated:

The official said that at the moment it did not look like an espionage case, but added the caveat that it is a continuing investigation. At the same time, the official said that investigators think Mr. Martin is not politically motivated — “not like a Snowden or someone who believes that what we were doing was illegal and wanted to publicize that.”

As for Martin:

In a brief statement issued on Wednesday, lawyers for Mr. Martin said: “We have not seen any evidence. But what we know is that Hal Martin loves his family and his country. There is no evidence that he intended to betray his country.”

According to the Times, Martin was a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton, the same firm that employed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.