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NSA Document Hoarder Pleads Guilty

Harold Martin, a former NSA contractor with a top secret security clearance was arrested in 2016 for taking home the equivalent of a half billion pages of physical and digital classified documents. He didn’t pass the materials on to anyone, just hoarded them compulsively in his home. Last week he pleaded guilty to one count in exchange for a nine-year sentence and having the remaining 19 charges dropped.

Martin’s lawyer, James Wyda, told the court, “His actions were the product of mental illness, not treason. . . . He is deeply remorseful.”

If I heard correctly, a couple times during the hearing Martin said, “It’s time to close the Pandora’s box.”

Harold Martin, Nutcase or Operative?

“You have someone here who presents himself as two different people,” said Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite at a detention hearing in Baltimore for the purloiner of tons of NSA files.

The government painted a picture of a serial lawbreaker who knowingly removed boxes of documents and terabytes of electronic files from the NSA, and kept an arsenal of weapons in his home.

Martin’s lawyer, Federal Public Defender James Wyda, by contrast said his client is a hoarder with a drinking problem. “The mental health factor is the only explanation for this that makes sense.”

Harold T. Martin III has so far only been charged with theft and retention of classified material. Although the law only allows detention based on flight risk for such minor offenses the government still argued about the danger he posed to national security.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers told the judge,“There’s no guarantee that he’s not storing other information somewhere else that he has not told us about.”

Additional charges under the Espionage Act are expected.

NYT story here.

NSA Whistleblower Escapes Espionage Charges

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NSA computer specialist Thomas Drake, shown above with his attorneys in court this morning, was facing felony charges under the Espionage Act for sharing information about the spy agency’s awarding of the billion dollar Trailblazer program to an outside contractor.

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After Judge Richard Bennett ruled that some of the allegedly classified documents Drake is accused of taking home would have to be shown to the jury the government’s case crumbled, and Drake was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

Baltimore Sun story here.