(WASHINGTON) — Federal officials arrested a contractor for the National Security Agency for allegedly pilfering highly classified material that, if made public, could have caused “exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”
In a criminal complaint filed in late August but unsealed Wednesday, the FBI alleges that 51-year-old Harold Martin of Maryland had kept the classified information, some of it with the highest Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearance rating, in his home or two nearby sheds. The papers and digital media files indicate they were produced in 2014, the complaint says.
“These six documents were produced through sensitive government sources, methods, and capabilities, which are critical to a wide variety of national security issues,” the complaint says.
The complaint does not specifically identify which U.S. government agency for whom Martin was contracting, but a source familiar with the case said it was the NSA — the same agency that suffered the biggest leak of information in U.S. intelligence history when contractor Edward Snowden made off with a cache of documents in 2013.
The complaint says Martin was interviewed by federal agents in late August and, 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.” Martin allegedly said he knew what he had done was wrong.
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