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Federal authorities “secretly arrested” a National Security Agency contractor under suspicion of stealing classified codes used to hack foreign governments, according to the New York Times.
The contractor, 51-year-old Harold Thomas Martin III of Maryland, worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, the same intelligence firm that employed Edward Snowden at the time he released hundreds of thousands of classified NSA documents to the press in 2013.
“A large percentage of the materials recovered from Martin’s residence and vehicle bore markings indicating that they were property of the U.S. government and contained highly classified information, including Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI),” the Justice Department wrote in a statement. “In addition, investigators located property of the U.S. government with an aggregate value in excess of $1,000, which Martin allegedly stole.”
Martin's arrest raises suspicion that he may be behind the Shadow Brokers, who attempted to auction secret cyberweapons stolen from the NSA to the highest bidder this summer.
The FBI arrested Martin on Aug. 27, the same day the Twitter account behind the Shadow Brokers auction fell silent. However, the Shadow Brokers Twitter account has remained active, as of Oct. 1, and the cyberweapons were reportedly stolen from an unsecured computer outside the NSA's network. If Martin was not behind the Shadow Brokers auction, it may indicate further breach of NSA systems. As the New York Times, which first revealed Martin's arrest, reports, it is not known whether Martin was involved in the Shadow Brokers auction.
According to Martin's LinkedIn page, he is an expert in CAMBRIC—a complex acronym that covers a wide range of technology disciplines: Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobility, big data, robotics, internet of things, and cybersecurity. Martin also appears to have been working toward a Ph.D in high-level cloud computing technologies at the University of Maryland.
Martin faces charges in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore for unauthorized removal and retention of classified material and theft of government property. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 11 years in prison.