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Government Privacy Security United States Politics

NSA Contractor Indicted Over Mammoth Theft of Classified Data (reuters.com) 156

Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: A former National Security Agency contractor was indicted on Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges he willfully retained national defense information, in what U.S. officials have said may have been the largest heist of classified government information in history. The indictment alleges that Harold Thomas Martin, 52, spent up to 20 years stealing highly sensitive government material from the U.S. intelligence community related to national defense, collecting a trove of secrets he hoarded at his home in Glen Burnie, Maryland. The government has not said what, if anything, Martin did with the stolen data. Martin faces 20 criminal counts, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, the Justice Department said. "For as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government," said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.
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NSA Contractor Indicted Over Mammoth Theft of Classified Data

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  • In other news (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Museum of Natural History contractor indicted over theft of classified mammoth data

    • One assumes that in a fit of enthusiasm to do a good job he took home a copy of anything interesting to look at later. One also assumes he will be executed for his trouble. Frankly if I were you I would not worry about stealing pens from the bastards that own your company, or doing a good job either. Just my 2 cents worth.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:09PM (#53832985)
    if he's THAT good for THAT long
    • by gosand ( 234100 )


      "Martin was employed as a private contractor by at least seven different companies, working for several government agencies beginning in 1993 after serving in the U.S. Navy for four years, according to the indictment. "

  • Double standard (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hylandr ( 813770 )

    But Hillary did nothing wrong.

  • Abused Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:18PM (#53833045)
    Why is the trust that the government placed in the contractor worth more than the trust that the citizens of the U.S. have placed in the government? It works both ways, guys.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I placed MY trust in THIS contractor to do the RIGHT thing.... LEAK THE DAMN SECRETS so I can see and control what the government is doing against US, against OTHERS and against HUMANITY and just plain STUPIDITY.

      But NO, he was apparently a hoarder mental case, so we will have to wait for another PATRIOT to STAND UP and DUMP THEIR OWN COLLECTION.
      Snowden, Manning, and this guy are just the start... there are more patriots out there that haven't dumped or been rolled up yet...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure they'll fry him for this. Unless he was keeping the data on his secure private server (hidden in the closet under a pile of sweatsocks), then it's cool.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Holy shit aren't those things extinct?

  • Amazing! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stele ( 9443 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:37PM (#53833207) Homepage

    Didn't have time to read the full description... but, wow!

    They've already got mammoths cloned from ancient DNA, and they're training them to steal classified data? What CAN'T the NSA do?

    • What can't the NSA do?

      Keep the POTUS from monetizing the White House, or the Ku Klux Klan from undoing over half a century of social progress?

      • The KKK is experiencing record lows in membership; the SPLC and ADL say their membership is between 3,000 - 8,000 members, and their factions are divided. Their political influence is basically nil at the federal level, and very small even in state governments. If social progress is undone, it won't be the KKK doing it, although I'm sure they'd like to think they played a part.
  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:38PM (#53833215)

    For as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government

    Sucks when it happens to you doesn't it government!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "For as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government"

    Kind of like how the Government has flagrantly abused the trust placed in them by the average citizen?
  • by Ed Tice ( 3732157 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @12:55PM (#53833333)
    He just copied it.
    • Well, they are secrets, which are only valuable if not shared. I mean, if I publish the information to drain your bank account (usernames, passwords, etc.) you still have them. But they are now devoid of value to you.

  • ...then why wasn't he caught sooner? Especially with the amount of data he was absconding with?

    Governmental bureaucracy in action, again, most likely.

    • Classified information isn't really all that well protected from insider threats. The security around it is largely based on trusting the people handling the data. That data is supposed to reside on an air gaped network but there are plenty of other ways for stuff to leak, such as printers, writable and removable media like CD's, DVD's, and usb sticks. Basically there is too much classified information and too many people who need access on a regular basis for it to be well and properly secured. No doubt we

  • If he didn't give or sell the information away ('hoarded"), then it sounds to me like he was simply lazy about proper security procedures, rather than criminal. I know lots of people that take work home with them and it sounds like that is what he did.

    Yes, it was a potential problem, yes it was a violation of the rules. But I bet his boss was simply more concerned with results than with security and created a culture of "get it done and don't talk to me about problems." The boss was probably too stupid

  • My money is on ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @01:07PM (#53833435)

    ... backup tapes.

    Those are so easy to walk off with.

    I'm retired IT, and many times when I was assisting on another site, I saw backup tapes and EHD, some old, laying around in plain site, some in drawers where tools and connectors were stored, so yeah.

    • My money is on.... ... backup tapes.

      So you still backup all of your Bitcoins to tape? Dude, just put it in the cloud! ;-)

      • Dropbox would be the best choice according to this anecdotal evidence provided by long-time /. reader, CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) [slashdot.org]:

        I was working on a manager's (boss's son) machine because he had lost a photo for a legal matter.

        I searched for *.jpg on his hard drive and came up with lots of photos, including a Dropbox folder with iPhone pictures and videos of him and his wife doing the, you know, uh, you know ... ... fuck it we're all adults here so, I'll come right out and say they were "doing it," if you ge

    • The ironic thing is that anything LTO-4 and newer come with AES encryption built into the tape drive. Set a password, make sure it is kept by important people, and forget about it. That way, if tapes go missing or fall out of the Iron Mountain van, it isn't good, but it doesn't mean disaster.

      • by dknj ( 441802 )

        until AES can be broken and then I have access to a few TB of your critical data (PII rarely changes)

      • ... make sure it is kept by important people ...

        Sounds like this person was "important enough."

        Manning was "important enough," right?

        Snowden was "important enough," amirite?

        • That's a HR/legal problem, not a tech problem. Securing tapes with encryption is IT's job. Which people are authorized tends to fall to management.

          • Reread the trigger here:

            Set a password, make sure it is kept by important people , and forget about it.

            You're saying the issue is:

            - HR problem
            - Legal problem
            - Not tech problem
            - IT's job
            - Falls to management

            You can appreciate why I did not feel informed.

            Please try again.

    • You weren't IT for the NSA, were you? It should not be easy to walk off with classified backup tapes.

      • I think it would be easy.

        Manning went in with a Lady Gaga CD, erased the contents, copied shit on there and walked out. He had elevated privileges above his actual need.

        Snowden got his hands on shit and went to Russia.

        The gubmint is clueless and sloppy as fuck.

  • ...but was the information marked classified?

  • For off-site data backup storage.

  • Awww, why couldn't that say NSA Contractor Indicted Over Theft of Classified Mammoth Data ?

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