Federal Agents Want Suspect To Be Remanded In Custody In NSA Case
Harold T. Martin III was arrested in last August and was charged with keeping top secret materials from the NSA in his home and car. Now, federal prosecutors want to order continued detention for the Maryland man.
According to court documents, FBI agents managed to recover about 50,000 gigabytes of material from Martin, which would be equivalent to 500 million pages of documents containing text and images. Analysts at the moment are examining the data to know how much of it was classified.
The Justice Department argues that if Martin gets released on bail he could get access to the data he has hidden and FBI agents haven’t yet found.
“The case against the defendant thus far is overwhelming, and the investigation is ongoing,” said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Myers, and trial attorney David Aaron. “The defendant knows, and, if no longer detained, may have access to a substantial amount of highly classified information, which he has flagrantly mishandled and could easily disseminate to others.”
They also added that now that the man’s case has been revealed to the public, foreign agents could be aware of the things Martin knows. This makes him, according to prosecutors, “a prime target, and his release would seriously endanger the safety of the country and potentially even the defendant himself.”
Federal prosecutors also added the man owns several firearms, and once told his wife that he would end his life “if he thought it was all over.” This could show suicidal tendencies, which the federals want to avoid at all costs.
According to the court filing, one of the documents Martin stole, during a 20-year period of taking classified information to his home, contained handwritten notes describing the NSA’s computer systems, written: “as if the notes were intended for an audience outside of the Intelligence Community.”
Another document described “specific operational plans against a known enemy of the United States.” This could easily raise the heads of potential rivals and enemies of the USA.
After law enforcement authorities arrested Martin, they found multiple classified documents lying openly inside his house or stored in the back seat and trunk of his car, which he parked in a driveway outside his house.
Public defenders James Wyda and Deborah Boardman said the crimes Martin is charged with don’t permit a court to deny bail. The government “concocts fantastical scenarios” in which he might attempt to flee, but his wife and home are the reason not to escape.
“There is no evidence he intended to betray his country,” the defenders said.
Law enforcement authorities found out during their research that some of the data stolen by Martin were advertised for sale on the dark web in August. However, they do not know whether it was provided by Martin, stolen from him, one of his computers got hacked, or obtained by another different method.
A judge holds a hearing on Martin’s detention request on Friday afternoon.