A harsh sentence, given that the Government acknowledges there was no evidence the accused forwarded the documents to an individual or rival country.
Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 7.19.2019
A former US contractor who stockpiled secret National Security Agency data at his home has been jailed for nine years. The case is another embarrassment for the NSA after Edward Snowden leaked classified info in 2013.
A former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who stored more than two decades’ worth of classified documents at his home has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
The complaint did not reference that group or allege a link to Martin, and a defense attorney said Martin never intended to betray his country. But the disclosures were the most significant leak since the disclosures made by NSA contractor-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden in 2013 .
US District Judge Richard Bennett acknowledged at sentencing there was no evidence that Harold Martin had intended to forward classified information, but said “people’s lives were potentially in danger.”
NSA General Counsel Glenn Gerstell told the Reuters news agency at the time that the NSA was still assessing damage from the data theft, but said: “I don’t think this is a Edward Snowden-type situation.” Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia, said he deliberately exposed the scope of US government surveillance to force changes. The leaks and subsequent arrest are another embarrassment for the US intelligence community.
Martin, whose nine-year jail sentence stems from a plea agreement, apologized saying “my methods were wrong, illegal and highly questionable.”
He admitted guilt to a single count of willful retention of national defense information — after initially denying a strings of charges.
The Maryland home of 51-year-old Harold Thomas Martin IIIwas raided by FBI agents after he allegedly admitted to having taken government secrets, authorities said.
“Martin at first denied, and later when confronted with specific documents, admitted he took documents and digital files from his work assignment to his residence and vehicle that he knew were classified,” the Department of Justice affidavit alleged. “Martin stated that he knew what he had done was wrong and that he should not have done it because he knew it was unauthorized.”
The documents did not detail the classified information that the agency says it seized, but the move does correspond to a cyberleak of purported malicious hacking tools used by the NSA to tamper with firewalls, the electronic defenses protecting computer networks, which was pulled off by a group calling itself the “Shadow Brokers.”