WASHINGTON: The FBI has arrested a man who worked as a private contractor for the National Security Agency in a probe into the theft of top-secret government information, the US authorities said Wednesday.
The Department of Justice released a criminal complaint against Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, of Maryland, charging him with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials.
Martin, who has now been fired, worked for Booz Allen Hamilton — the same firm that hired the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The case is an embarrassing new blow for both the NSA and Booz Allen, which the New York Times said helps build and operate many of the NSA’s most sensitive cyber operations.
According to the criminal complaint, investigators found hard copies and digital files of top-secret documents in Martin’s home and car. He was arrested August 27 following the search.
Booz Allen, a 102-year-old company, said it reached out to offer full cooperation with the authorities as soon as it learned of the arrest.
“And we fired the employee,” it said in a statement.
The NSA declined to comment.
The arrest came after investigators began looking into the theft of source code used by the NSA to hack adversaries’ computer systems, such as those of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.
Such access would enable the NSA to plant malware in rivals’ systems and monitor — or even attack — their networks.