Contractor who stole 50TB of NSA data gets nine years in prison

Prosecutors never proved former NSA contractor was the origin for the Shadow Brokers leak.

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NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade, Md. (Image: file photo)

Harold Thomas Martin III, a former National Security Agency contractor who was accused and later pled guilty to stealing over 50TB of NSA data, was sentenced today to nine years in prison.

Martin was arrested in October 2016 after the FBI raided his home and found documents that he'd been taking home for years, without authorization. Files were found on his computer, and in his car.

Some of the documents were labeled top secret and contained information about NSA infrastructure and tools, but there were also documents about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), US Cyber Command, and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

No evidence Martin shared any of the files

Martin worked as a contractor for various US government agencies for 20 years, between 1996 and 2016. At the time of his arrest, Martin was working for Booz Allen Hamilton, the same company where Snowden had worked.

He had Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearances, which allowed him to handle sensitive government documents and files -- but only at work, and not at home.

Prosecutors described the cache of government documents discovered at Martin's home as "breathtaking" in scale. Martin's lawyers said he only took documents home to study and become better at his job and not with any intention to sell government secrets.

No Shadow Brokers connection was ever proven

At the time of his arrest, the Washington Post reported that Martin was the main suspect in the government's investigation into the Shadow Brokers, a group of internet hackers who started leaking NSA files and hacking tools on the internet, in the summer of 2016.

In a different report, the New York Times suggested Martin was under investigation for leaking documents to WikiLeaks.

US authorities indicted Martin in February 2017, and he signed a guilty plea in March 2019. Prosecutors never proved that Martin had any connections to the Shadow Brokers or WikiLeaks.

Martin signed a plea agreement admitting his guilt. As part of the guilty plea, prosecutors said they wouldn't seek more than seven years in prison.

The judge wasn't bound by the guilty plea and sentenced Martin to nine years in prison, including time served, and three years of supervised release. Martin is 54.

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