N.S.A. Contractor Charged in Baltimore

Cecilia Santostefano

Charges against Harold Martin, a contractor with the National Security Agency became unsealed on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. The fifty-one-year-old from Maryland has been charged with theft of government property and the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials.[1] Materials include a highly classified code generated to break into the electronic systems of agency adversaries, including Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.[2]

Officials often rely on psychological and behavioral profiles to uncover possible “insider threats.”[3] For example, Edward Snowden was driven by political motives to protect the rights of Americans when he spoke of government monitoring programs to journalists.[4] This, however, is not the case for Harold Martin. Officials say Martin does not fit the usual profile of an insider threat.[5] His motive, among many other aspects of the investigation, is still unclear. There is currently a large wave of secrecy surrounding the proceedings. Regardless, the N.S.A. will have to take remedial measures, as it did following Snowden’s disclosures a few years back, in an era where people are speaking more openly about the agency and its practices.[6]


[1] Ian Duncan, Federal contractor from Glen Burnie charged with stealing top secret information, The Baltimore Sun, (Oct. 5, 2016, 2:44 PM), http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/federal-workplace/bs-md-contract-arrest-secrets-20161005-story.html.

[2] Jo Becker, Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt, and Matt Apuzzo, N.S.A. Contractor Arrested in Possible New Theft of Secrets, NY Times, (Oct. 5, 2015), http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/06/us/nsa-leak-booz-allen-hamilton.html?ref=technology&_r=0.

[3] See Becker, supra note 2.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] See id.