WASHINGTON (AP) — Classified information stolen by a former National Security Agency contractor included the names of covert intelligence officers, according to a federal court filing on Thursday.
The public defenders for Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, will ask a federal judge Friday to consider freeing Martin from custody as his case proceeds.
U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite denied that same request last week, agreeing with prosecutors that Marin is a flight risk, given that enemies of the United States would love to learn more about the top secret information found at his home.
In arguing that Martin should remain locked up, federal prosecutors said in their filing that a “substantial portion” of the 50 terabytes of digital information seized from Martin at his home was “highly classified.”
That information included the names of intelligence officers who operate “under cover outside the United States” and could endanger their lives, the safety of those they work with and could compromise American intelligence operations.
Martin’s public defenders James Wyda and Deborah Boardman have argued that the former U.S. Navy lieutenant was merely a compulsive hoarder and a voracious learner who got carried away, taking home documents in a misguided effort to be more skilled at his job.
They said “he loves his family and his country” and that there’s no evidence he shared the information with a foreign nation or intended to.
Edward Snowden was also a Booz Allen Hamilton employee and contractor for the NSA when he stole and leaked highly classified documents to journalists, revealing the NSA’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records.
Booz Allen Hamilton fired Martin as soon as the company learned of his arrest and said in a statement Thursday that it had hired former FBI Director Robert Mueller to review its security practices.
Spokesman Craig Veith said Mueller has been reviewing the company’s security, personnel, and management processes and practices since Oct. 19 and that the company is “determined to learn from this incident.”
“This external review is the right thing to do: We are an organization that prides itself on constant learning,” Veith said. “If there are areas where Booz Allen can improve, we will address them.”
A complaint unsealed earlier this month charged Martin with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, which together carry a combined maximum of 11 years in prison.
But if prosecutors bring additional charges under the Espionage Act, Martin may be exposed to far more severe penalties if he’s convicted.
Martin was arrested around the same time federal officials acknowledged an investigation into a leak online of purported NSA hacking tools. The group leaking the information called itself the “Shadow Brokers,” but there is nothing in court filings connecting Martin to that group.
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