A criminal complaint was unsealed Wednesday, revealing allegations against a defense contractor accused of stealing classified computer code for America’s secret cyber operations.
Law enforcement sources said the first sign of a security breach at the NSA came in mid-August when someone posted highly sensitive secrets about the agency’s cyber tools online.
Experts said the posts included computer code intended to hack major cyber targets, like foreign governments. At first, a cyber attack by another country was suspected, but investigators soon zeroed in on NSA contractor Harold Martin III.
In late August, police converged on his Maryland home.
“FBI jackets all over the place, state troopers,” said Glenn Bond, who lives down the street.
According to the complaint, the FBI searched Martin’s house, car and two storage sheds.
Investigators say they found “hard copy documents and digital information stored on various devices” with markings indicating that they contained “highly classified” and “top secret information” that, if made public, could cause “exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”
Martin’s wife Deb was at the house Wednesday.
“I have absolutely no comment on the matter and that I am standing by my husband and that I love him very much,” she said.
Martin, who is a Navy veteran, was employed by defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, the same company that hired Edward Snowden. His 2013 leak of classified secrets about U.S. global and domestic surveillance methods is considered one of the most damaging security breaches in decades.
According to the court papers, Martin admitted he took the documents. But his attorney says there is no evidence his client intended to betray his country and he has devoted his entire career to serving and protecting America.