NSA contractor faces spying charges

US government lawyers have said they will prosecute a former National Security Agency contractor, accused of stealing masses of government data.

Harold Thomas Martin is alleged to have spent more than 20 years collecting data from multiple government agencies, federal prosecutors said.

Court documents say 50 terabytes of data had been seized but it is not clear how much of this was classified.

Mr Martin's lawyer said there is no evidence he betrayed the United States.

Six of the documents found in the 51-year-old's possession were classified as top secret, "meaning that unauthorised disclosure could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the US", said the Justice Department at the time of his arrest.

Mr Martin was arrested in Maryland in August but officials did not give a motive for the alleged crime.

The FBI said Mr Martin at first denied taking the data, but later admitted removing documents and digital files.


Mr Martin was employed with Booz Allen Hamilton, the same consulting firm that employed Edward Snowden, who gave documents to journalists exposing NSA surveillance practices.

The company said it had immediately fired Mr Martin when it learned of the FBI arrest.

Mr Martin will be charged under the Espionage Act and, if found guilty, faces a hefty prison sentence.

If the case succeeds, it raises serious questions about NSA security, says Alan Woodward, a computer security expert from Surrey University.

"The only extraordinary thing about this story is the volume of data stolen," he said.

"If someone was taking the data out of the NSA over a very long period of time, regardless of motive, it does raise a few questions about how they were able to do that: if someone is removing data habitually you'd expect that to be spotted."

  • Published in World

AT&T Played Key Role in Helping NSA Spy

Telecom giant AT&T Inc has played a bigger than previously thought role in helping the National Security Agency (NSA) spy on swathes of internet traffic, which included wiretapping all UN headquarters' communications, The New York Times has revealed.

The report is based on leaked documents, which date from 2003 to 2013 and were provided by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The files describe the NSA's relationship with the telecommunications company as "highly collaborative," citing AT&T's "extreme willingness to help."

The N.S.A.'s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to the documents. The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.

A decades-long partnership has helped the NSA to accomplish a whole range of classified activities, including providing technical assistance to carry out a secret court order that enabled wiretapping of all internet communications at the headquarters of the United Nations, which is an AT&T customer.

President Barack Obama,signed on June 3 a law that regulates the activities of NSA.The legislation reforms the rules for the government to spy on US citezens and in the war against terrorism.

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Booted spy crisis puts White House, CIA ties under strain

Germany’s dramatic decision to expel the top U.S. intelligence official in Berlin has put fresh strain on the frequently fraught relationship between American spies and the policymakers who rely on – and sometimes clash with – the nation’s cloak-and-dagger operatives.

  • Published in World
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