National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Harold Thomas Martin III was arrested Wednesday for downloading “Sensitive Compartmented Information” to his home computer.
The New York Times reported that Martin, III of Glen Burnie, MD, was arrested, like Edward Snowden, while working as a Booz Allen contractor for the NSA. Martin was supposedly discovered in an investigation of theft and disclosure of a large cache of top-secret NSA spying tools.
During a search of Mr. Martin’s residence, agents found paper documents and digital drives that were labeled “top secret,” including six classified documents that were written in 2014, according to an affidavit filed in conjunction with his arrest.
The FBI affidavit said: “During the interview, 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.”
But Martin has now been alleged to have also stolen “Sensitive Compartmented Information” (SCI), which Breitbart sources referred to as NSA’s “crown jewels.” These are offensive algorithms used in cyberattacks on foreign military and government systems.
Unlike Snowden, who exposed files to demonstrate that the NSA was illegally spying on every American citizen, Martin allegedly operated under the dark net moniker of “Shadow Brokers” to hack the NSA Equation Group’s cyber-mining tools. He then offered to sell the wildly valuable cyber-secrets for 1 million bitcoins, or about $560 million.
During the months of August and September, the Obama administration was claiming that the devastating hack of the Democrat National Committee (DNC) by Guccifer 2.0 was a in reality a covert operation by the Russian FSB’s Institute of Cryptography and Protection of Information (IKSI) that is tasked with cyber-warfare.
President Obama used a press conference on August 4 regarding the DNC break-in to state, “If in fact Russia engaged in this activity, it’s just one on a long list of issues that me and Mr. Putin talk about and that I’ve got a real problem with.”
The arrest of an NSA insider after two months of the President claiming the Russians were responsible for national security hacking raises concerns that his administration may have been using a “false flag” to cover-up their its own incompetence in protecting cyber-secrets from disgruntled or greedy employees.
Following Snowden’s 2013 intelligence breaches, the Administration’s investigation and after-action corrective action plan should have entailed tremendous enhanced surveillance, countermeasures and staff vetting at Booz Allen to make sure that U.S. cyber-security operations are impenetrable from the outside and from the inside.
Although Martin is suspected of taking the highly classified NSA “source code” developed to break into foreign computer networks, the Times reported late Wednesday that two intelligence sources tried to downplay the theft by claiming some of the information the contractor is suspected of stealing was “dated.”
Snowden chimed in on Twitter from somewhere in Russia: “This is huge. Did the FBI secretly arrest the person behind the reports NSA sat on huge flaws in US products?”
Mr. Martin’s lawyer, Jim Wyda, said the charges “are mere allegations … There is no evidence that Hal Martin intended to betray his country. What we do know is that Hal Martin loves his family and his country.” Wyda added that Mr. Martin “has devoted his entire career to protecting America.”