The National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Maryland. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, file)
A former contractor for the National Security Agency pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing secret documents over two decades, and hold on to his Maryland house.
Harold T. Martin, 54, admitted to a felony count of willful retention of national defense information, in Baltimore Federal court. Prosecutors said that Martin is expected to be sentenced to nine years in prison with three years supervised release on July 17 as part of a plea deal. A further 19 Martin is expected to be released, will face at sentencing.
Martin was arrested by heavily-armed FBI agents at his Glen Burnie, Md. House in August 2016. He pleaded first, not guilty to 20 counts, indicating the purpose of the retention of classified information, and had to go because of, announced to a hearing in June, but prosecutors this week that he would be re-indicted, a change in plea.
Prosecutors accused Martin of a “stunning” theft of state secrets, between 1996 and 2016, possibly the largest in American history. Federal agents seized dozens of laptops and digital devices from Martin’s house, as well as six Banker boxes full of documents. A minimum of 50 terabytes of data have also been recovered.
Martin, the defense team said their client, a former Navy Lieutenant, of the shares in a different security, had the intention to harm his country or the secret services, which he served. One of his lawyers, who previously described him as a “messy” , took work documents home with him.
At his court appearance on Thursday, Martin a Federal judge said he was diagnosed with ADHD and took medication for this disorder.
“Today’s apology is a confirmation of what Mr Martin and his defense team have maintained from the beginning of this case. His actions were the product of mental illness. Not treason,” his lawyers said in a statement.
Authorities said the crimes Graf, Martin pled guilty to involved a top-secret-NSA-leadership-briefing in March 2014 that he made several copies.
The NSA has suffered a series of major violations in the last few years. Especially Edward Snowden revealed a cache of classified documents in 2013, exposing the U.S. government’s surveillance programs. Martin, like Snowden worked as a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton.
People government seems to have stolen secrets in the course of history, but intelligence contractor, to be hoarding vast quantities of classified information in their homes, something new.
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Last year, another Maryland, people who had worked with, known in the NSA guilty to numerous top-secret U.S. Secretary of defense materials at home. At the time of his conviction, Nghia Hoang Phu, 67, told a Federal judge he took the copies of US government documents and the writings with national defense information, so that he can work from home and possibly earn a promotion. He got 5 ½ years in prison.
It is not clear whether the NSA has introduced new protection measures in the Wake of Martin’s case.
Fox News’ William Mears, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.