NSA contractor accused of taking classified information
WASHINGTON – The Associated Press
AP PhotoA contractor for the National Security Agency has been arrested on charges that he illegally removed highly classified information and stored the material in his home and car, federal prosecutors said Oct. 5.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, said Martin worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, the consulting firm that employed Edward Snowden when he revealed the vast collection of metadata by the NSA in 2013.
The arrest was not made public until Oct. 5, when the Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint that accused Martin of having been in possession of top-secret information that could cause “exceptionally grave danger” to national security if disclosed.
Among the classified documents found with Martin, the FBI said, were six that contain sensitive intelligence - meaning they were produced through sensitive government sources or methods that are critical to national security - and date back to 2014. All the documents were clearly marked as classified information, according to a FBI affidavit accompanying the complaint.
The complaint does not specify what documents Martin is alleged to have taken. He was arrested around the same time U.S. officials acknowledged an investigation into a cyber leak of purported hacking tools used by the NSA. That tool kit consists of malicious software intended to tamper with firewalls, the electronic defenses protecting computer networks. Those documents were leaked by a group calling itself the “Shadow Brokers.” The complaint does not reference that group or allege a link to Martin.
At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said U.S. President Barack Obama takes the situation “quite seriously. And it is a good reminder for all of us with security clearances about how important it is for us to protect sensitive national security information.”