No bail in NSA theft case

Lawyer calls Martin a hoarder ad­dicted to tak­ing doc­u­ments

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Ian Dun­can

Harold T. Martin III be­gan tak­ing clas­si­fied gov­ern­ment files al­most 20 years ago so he could get bet­ter at his job, his lawyer said in court Fri­day.

But at some point, fed­eral pub­lic de­fender James Wyda said, he lost con­trol of his steal­ing. Over two decades, au­thor­i­ties say, he amassed an as­ton­ish­ing 50 ter­abytes of in­for­ma­tion.

“This was the be­hav­ior of a com­pul­sive hoarder,” Wyda said in U.S. District Court in Bal­ti­more.

Martin, a 51-year-old for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency con­trac­tor from Glen Burnie, was charged in Au­gust with steal­ing gov­ern­ment prop­erty and tak­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

Wyda, try­ing Fri­day to per­suade a fed­eral mag­is­trate judge to re­lease Martin from jail pend­ing a trial, char­ac­ter­ized him as a man ded­i­cated to pub­lic ser­vice.

Mag­is­trate Judge A. David Cop­perthite was un­con­vinced. He ruled that Martin was a flight risk and had to re­main locked up.

Wyda said out­side the court­house that he would ap­peal the rul­ing.

It was Martin’s first pub­lic court hear­ing since his ar­rest in Au­gust.

“We have a per­son here who may be two per­sons.”

The for­mer Navy of­fi­cer walked into the court­room in a two-tone gray jump­suit and flashed a quick salute to his wife, Deb­o­rah Shaw, and other sup­port­ers sit­ting be­hind him. He didn’t ad­dress the judge.

Martin has not de­nied the theft. Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors have called the haul “breath­tak­ing” in scope, and Fri­day’s hear­ing un­der­scored how un­usual the case is.

There’s no ev­i­dence that Martin, known as Hal, shared the doc­u­ments with any­one, and Wyda said it was wrong to com­pare him with oth­ers who have made off with clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

“He’s not Ed­ward Snow­den,” Wyda said, re­fer­ring to the for­mer NSA con­trac­tor who stole se­crets from the agency and shared them with jour­nal­ists. Martin had no po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion to take the doc­u­ments, Wyda said, and was not driven by greed as other spies have been.

Martin joined the Navy in 1987 and was sent to train as an of­fi­cer in New­port, R.I. It was there that he met his first wife, Martin Ma­rina Martin.

Ma­rina Martin, speak­ing Fri­day to The Bal­ti­more Sun, re­mem­bered her ex-hus­band as tall, hand­some and com­mit­ted to the Navy.

“He was very en­thu­si­as­tic. He was re­ally ea­ger to serve,” she said. “What he did in the Navy came first.”

The cou­ple dated for about a year be­fore they mar­ried, Ma­rina Martin said. They had been mar­ried only a few weeks be­fore Harold Martin was as­signed to the fast com­bat sup­port ship USS Seat­tle and sent to the Mid­dle East to take part in the 1991 Per­sian Gulf War.

Martin left ac­tive naval ser­vice in 1995 and moved to the Wash­ing­ton area. He and James Wyda, cen­ter, the lawyer for Harold T. Martin III, makes a state­ment af­ter a fed­eral judge ruled that his client must re­main in jail. At left is Martin’s wife, Deb­o­rah Shaw. Ma­rina Martin soon di­vorced — am­i­ca­bly, she said. Ma­rina Martin said she re­mained in touch with her ex-hus­band, but had not seen him for the past five years and had no idea about his al­leged thefts be­yond what she’d read in news cov­er­age.

“When we were to­gether, he didn’t seem the type of guy who was against the USA or the mil­i­tary,” she said. Ma­rina Martin de­clined to say whether Harold Martin was in­volved in hoard­ing when they were to­gether.

Wyda said the thefts of gov­ern­ment files be­gan in 1998, af­ter Martin took the first of sev­eral jobs work­ing for con­trac­tors.

Martin was try­ing to get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the na­tion’s sprawl­ing

U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge A. David Cop­perthite

se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, Wyda said. But he couldn’t stop steal­ing, Wyda said, and it “be­came a com­pul­sion.”

As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Zachary My­ers said in­ves­ti­ga­tors seized more than 50 ter­abytes of data from Martin’s prop­erty — the equiv­a­lent of half a bil­lion pages of doc­u­ments.

When fed­eral agents ar­rived at Martin’s home with a search war­rant in Au­gust, My­ers said, he was walk­ing to his car car­ry­ing a port­fo­lio stuffed with clas­si­fied doc­u­ments.

It’s not clear whether Martin had re­viewed the doc­u­ments him­self. Wyda said many of them were left in an un­locked shed on his prop­erty, cov­ered in dust.

Shaw, Martin’s cur­rent wife, has been try­ing to help him con­trol his hoard­ing im­pulses, Wyda said.

In a court fil­ing, pros­e­cu­tors said Martin drafted a mes­sage to col­leagues in 2007 in which he called them clowns and crit­i­cized the gov­ern­ment’s in­ter­nal se­cu­rity mea­sures — a tone that pros­e­cu­tors ar­gued raised ques­tions about how Martin would be­have if he were re­leased.

But Wyda read an­other sec­tion from the mes­sage, in which Martin called his col­leagues “cousins” and com­mended them on their work.

“I and a lot of other Amer­i­cans are de­pend­ing on you to do your jobs right,” Wyda read.

Both tones are re­flected in mes­sages sent from his email ad­dress to pub­lic groups about com­puter se­cu­rity. In some he ex­presses en­thu­si­asm about ideas other peo­ple pro­pose, while in oth­ers he ap­pears haughty and dis­mis­sive.

“Okay, I was be­ing face­tious ear­lier with the ‘COOL’ com­ment,” one mes­sage reads. “This is a very bad idea.”

Cop­perthite said those dif­fer­ing sides to Martin gave him pause. He said Martin ap­peared to have men­tal health prob­lems and strug­gled with binge drink­ing.

“We have a per­son here who may be two per­sons,” Cop­perthite said.

As Martin was led away in hand­cuffs, Martin mouthed some­thing to his sup­port­ers.

Out­side the court­house, Shaw was asked if she had any­thing to say.

“I love him,” she said. “That’s it.”


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.