NSA Contractor Could Face 200 Years in Prison for Massive Breach

Elias Groll reports:

U.S. prosecutors unveiled an indictment Wednesday detailing what may amount to the largest data breach in the history of the National Security Agency — an archive of classified material that may total more than 500 million pages. The incident is a black eye on the secretive spy agency’s attempt to crack down on so-called insider threats and may have exposed some of the NSA’s most sensitive spy tools.

Prosecutors allege Harold T. Martin III stole a huge trove of classified documents, which he stored at his home in Maryland, while working as a contractor to the NSA and other intelligence agencies. While the full scope of Martin’s collection of top secret material remains unclear, Wednesday’s indictment includes 20 charges of improperly retaining classified information. If convicted, Martin could face a maximum of 200 years in prison.


At the time of his arrest, Martin worked as a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton, the giant defense contractor. Martin’s role in the center of a massive breach of classified information is a huge embarrassment for the firm, which also employed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Since Snowden’s leaks, the agency has spent billions trying to improve internal security.

Read more on Foreign Policy.  This is a hugely concerning breach as well as an embarrassment to both the NSA and BAH. After everything with Snowden, how was this contractor’s employee able to steal so many documents? And what kind of ongoing checks does BAH do on its employees? I imagine there will be a lot of hard questions asked in internal reviews and closed congressional hearings, but will anything actually change to prevent this type of thing again?


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