Former NSA contractor sentenced to 9 years for stealing classified data

The former NSA contractor who pled guilty to stealing over 50TB of data from the Agency, was sentenced to nine years in prison

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

The man was arrested by the FBI in October 2016, the US DoJ charged Harold Thomas Martin with theft of secret documents and highly classified government material. According to a court complaint, the stolen data include source codes developed by the NSA to its hacking campaigns against foreign governments.

According to the Politico website, sources informed of the events reported that Kaspersky learned about Martin after he sent strange Twitter messages to two researchers of the firm in 2016, minutes before The Shadow Brokers began leaking the NSA dump online.

“The timing was remarkable — the two messages arrived just 30 minutes before an anonymous group known as Shadow Brokers began dumping classified NSA tools online and announced an auction to sell more of the agency’s stolen code for the price of $1 million Bitcoin. ” reported the Politico website.

“The case unfolded after someone who U.S. prosecutors believe was Martin used an anonymous Twitter account with the name ‘HAL999999999’ to send five cryptic, private messages to two researchers at the Moscow-based security firm,” Politico reports.

A first message sent on Aug. 13, 2016, asked one of the researchers to arrange a conversation with Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky.

Kaspersky reported the events to the NSA that identified Martin and the FBI arrested him later.

The DoJ’s chief national security prosecutor John Carlin revealed that Martin was employed by Booz Allen Hamilton.  Booz Allen Hamilton is the same defense contractor that employed the notorious Edward Snowden at the time the whistleblower when he disclosed the mass surveillance program conducted by the NSA on a global scale.

The theft was the largest heist of classified government material in the history of the US.

Harold Thomas Martin III, a 54-year-old Navy veteran from Glen Burnie, he abused his top-secret security clearances to stole at least 50 terabytes of classified national defense data from government computers over two decades while working for a number of NSA departments between 1996 and 2016.

In March 2019, the man signed a guilty plea, even if the connection with the Shadow Brokers was ever proven.

At the time, federal prosecutors decided to drop the remaining 19 charges against Martin and recommended a 9-year prison sentence and three years of supervised release.

Now the judge sentenced Martin to nine years in prison, including time served, and three years of supervised release.

“Harold Martin apologized to the federal judge who sentenced him for a theft that prosecutors have called “breathtaking” in scope.” reported the AP agency.

“My methods were wrong, illegal and highly questionable,” Martin told U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – NSA contractor, data breach)

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