A US district judge has sentenced former government contractor Harold Thomas Martin, III, to nine years in federal prison and three years of supervised release for the "willful retention of national defense information," the Department of Justice reported today.
Between Dec. 1993 and Aug. 2016, Martin was employed by at least seven private companies and assigned as a contractor to "a number of government agencies," according to his plea agreement. Each agency required Martin to receive and hold a security clearance; at various times he had clearances up to Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information, meaning unauthorized disclosure could cause "exceptionally grave damage" to US national security. Martin's role gave him access to government systems, programs, and data in secure locations.
Martin, who also worked as an NSA contractor, admitted to stealing and retaining US government property from secure locations and computer systems, in both physical and digital form, starting in the late 1990s and continuing through Aug. 2016. Information was marked to indicate it was property of the US and contained highly classified data including Top Secret/SCI information. He kept at least 50 terabytes of stolen files and classified data in his home and car, despite knowing he was not authorized to do so, and despite knowing knowing removal of this information could compromise national security and aid adversaries.
At his sentencing, officials noted crimes like these require the government to treat the stolen data as compromised, which could result in changing or eliminating national security programs. Martin's actions also cost time and resources in investigating the consequences of the theft.
"This sentence, which is one of the longest ever imposed in this type of case, should serve as a warning that we will find and prosecute government employees and contractors who flagrantly violate their duty to protect classified materials," said US Attorney Robert K Hur in a statement.
Read more details here.
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