If you thought it couldn’t get worse than Edward Snowden, you’d be quite wrong. It just did.
It’s happened again. An employee at the National Security Agency, our largest and most powerful intelligence service, has gone off the rails, stealing documents on an unprecedented scale.
When the case of Harold Thomas Martin III, an NSA contractor, broke earlier this month, I explained that the fact the FBI caught him taking classified information home was a bad sign, since it’s often a tell that espionage may be involved. As I stated:
Let me say that, as a former NSA counterintelligence officer, people seldom take classified information home with them just once. There are only two reasons why anybody risks jail by illegally removing secrets from the office. Either you’re seeking to sell them to a foreign intelligence service, or you’re just a weirdo who does that sort of thing for fun.
Martin, who was arrested in late August, was not initially charged with espionage, rather with mishandling classified information, a far less serious crime. An overweight nerd, he gave the impression of being the sort of “weirdo” I described rather than a mole.
Now, however, it’s apparent that the theft of classified information perpetrated by Martin over many years was truly astonishing and unprecedented in scope. This week, Federal prosecutors used the word “breathtaking” to describe what Martin had done and indicated they intend to charge him with crimes under the Espionage Act.
Read the rest at The Observer…