The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a government contractor with the National Security Agency with “willful retention of national defense information,” saying he stole and preserved classified information in unsecured locations for more than two decades.
The suspect, 52-year-old Harold Thomas Martin, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury. Federal officials say his theft may constitute the largest heist of classified government information in history.
Martin faces 20 criminal counts. Each can result in up to 10 years in prison.
Martin was an employee of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton when he was arrested last August. He had top-secret security clearance.
Government prosecutors say Martin had been stealing secret documents from the government since 1993 and storing them in his car and his home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Booz Allen Hamilton was also the employer of famed whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information to the media in 2013 and is in exile in Russia.