Ex-NSA contractor accused of hoarding classified info to plead guilty - Suspected of being the Shadow Brokers Source

Ex-NSA contractor accused of hoarding classified info to plead guilty

By JOSH GERSTEIN 01/03/2018 12:39 PM EST Updated 01/03/2018 12:46 PM EST

A former National Security Agency contractor accused of stealing a massive quantity of classified information over two decades has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of illegal retention of national security information.

The ex-NSA worker, Harold Martin, 53, however, has not reached a full agreement with prosecutors to resolve the twenty felony charges he was indicted on after being arrested in 2016 during a raid of his Maryland home.

The move appears to be a gamble by Martin's defense that the government will conclude that a trial on the remaining charges is unnecessary, particularly given the possibility that it will disclose sensitive details about the capabilities of the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

Martin, who's been held without bail since his arrest nearly a year and a half ago, could be sentenced to up to 10 years on the charge to which he is offering to plead guilty.

U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Garbis, who sits in Baltimore, has scheduled a January 22 hearing to receive Martin’s plea.

Prosecutors said in a court filing that sentencing guidelines will call for Martin to receive the full 10 years. However, government lawyers have agreed to postpone sentencing until all other counts are resolved — an arrangement which suggests some possibility the other charges could be dropped.

Martin reportedly spent several years working in NSA's elite hacking unit, known as Tailored Access Operations. Investigators initially suspected his removal of classified files from NSA headquarters led to a public disclosure of U.S. hacking tools released online by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers.


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