Ex-NSA con­trac­tor is de­nied re­lease

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Jes­sica Anderson jkan­der­son@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jan­ders5

A fed­eral judge on Fri­day de­nied a re­quest to re­lease a for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency con­trac­tor ac­cused of steal­ing 50 ter­abytes of in­for­ma­tion over two decades, cit­ing con­cerns about the man’s men­tal health.

Harold T. Martin III, 51, of Glen Burnie was charged in Au­gust with steal­ing gov­ern­ment prop­erty and tak­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

At a hear­ing Fri­day, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Richard D. Ben­nett ex­pressed con­cern over the lack of in­for­ma­tion about Martin’s men­tal health, cou­pled with the long-term hoard­ing of doc­u­ments and his col­lec­tion of guns, in­clud­ing a loaded hand­gun found in his ve­hi­cle.

“This is bizarre be­hav­ior last­ing over 20 years,” Ben­nett said. “What we are deal­ing with, we don’t know.”

Martin’s lawyers have de­scribed him as merely a hoarder who col­lected doc­u­ments out of a se­ri­ous com­pul­sion. James Wyda, head of the fed­eral pub­lic de­fender’s of­fice, said that aside from the hoard­ing, his client was an oth­er­wise func­tion­ing adult who had no in­ten­tion of dis­tribut­ing the in­for­ma­tion. Wyda noted that Martin owned a home, had held a job and con­trib­uted to a 401(k), but that he had long strug­gled with hoard­ing. He ar­gued that his client has been co­op­er­a­tive and has shown that he would fol­low any con­di­tions if he were re­leased.

Wyda also spoke of his client’s strong ties to Mary­land, where he has fam­ily and friends. His at­tor­neys pre­vi­ously said he would sub­mit to elec­tronic home mon­i­tor­ing and an al­co­hol mon­i­tor­ing de­vice and stay off the in­ter­net.

As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Har­vey Eisen­berg ar­gued against Martin’s re­lease, say­ing he is con­sid­ered a flight risk. Eisen­berg said Martin had rea­sons to flee, in­clud­ing fac­ing a lengthy sen­tence, and that he could be “a prize for for­eign ad­ver­saries” look­ing to glean in­for­ma­tion.

The in­for­ma­tion Martin col­lected in­cluded names of covert in­tel­li­gence agents, Eisen­berg said, re­lease of which could put those per­sons at risk.

In is­su­ing his rul­ing, Ben­nett cited the se­ri­ous­ness of the charges and agreed that Martin posed a flight risk be­cause of his in­cen­tives to flee, such as an in­abil­ity to find em­ploy­ment after the case.

Booz Allen Hamilton, the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity con­trac­tor that had em­ployed Martin, has fired him.

Martin

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