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Former NSA contractor gets 9 years for stealing top secret documents


He had stolen documents since the '90s and hoarded them in his home and car

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

A former National Security Agency contractor has been sentenced to nine years in prison for stealing classified information, according to The Associated Press.

Here's what we know

Harold Martin III worked as a government contractor for 23 years. In this role, he contracted with multiple U.S. intelligence agencies including the NSA.

Martin, 54, was convicted of stealing 50 terabytes worth of files while he was working at Booz Allen Hamilton and contracting with the NSA. Some of these files were classified. He stored the stolen files in his Maryland home and his car, but he is not accused of trying to sell it or leak it. A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes of information. A single gigabyte of information can potentially hold more than a thousand documents.

This information included the names of "numerous" U.S. operatives and risked the "exposure of American intelligence operations," according to prosecutors.

"[M]any of the marked [classified] documents were lying openly in his home office or stored in the backseat and trunk of his vehicle," prosecutors said.

Martin had stolen these files over two decades, beginning in the mid-1990s. His lawyers did not deny that he took the files, but said that his motives were innocent. According to them, he initially took documents to study them but then began to hoard them as "a part of a mental health issue."

His public defender James Wyda insisted that "he isn't Edward Snowden" and didn't have an agenda.

What else?

Martin was arrested in 2016. He was sentenced on Friday in Baltimore. His charges could have carried a maximum sentence of 10 years.

"My methods were wrong, illegal and highly questionable," Martin told U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett, according to The Associated Press.

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