An American National Security Agency (NSA) contractor has been arrested and charged for stealing highly classified information on Wednesday, the security agency said in a statement. It is believed to a possible data breach that could affect the the US government’s surveillance efforts.
Harold Thomas Martin, 51 years old, was arrested in Maryland in August, said a US official on condition of anonymity. Martin worked for Booz Allen Hamilton — a consult firm that employed former NSA contract Edward Snowden when he revealed the NSA secret mass surveillance program.
Booz Allen has fired the employee and offer full cooperation with the FBI, after the company learnt about the arrest of one of its employees by the FBI.
The arrest is linked with NSA’s possible hacking tools leak in last August. A group, calling itself Shadow Brokers, dumped NSA’s most sophisticated hacking tools onto public websites. The leak dropped the company’s stock by 3.7% to $30.33 per share.
The US Justice Department charged Martin with theft of classified government material, according to a criminal complaint released on Wednesday. According to the complaint, documents found in Martin’s possession included high sensitive intelligence information which could seriously harm the national security.
“These six documents were produced through sensitive government sources, methods, and capabilities, which are critical to a wide variety of national security issues,” the complaint said. It said Martin had the ability to access US government property that was not permitted to leave its authorized location.
Martin could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the current charges.