News Release

A Second Snowden?



The New York Times reports in “N.S.A. Contractor Arrested in Possible New Theft of Secrets” that “The F.B.I. secretly arrested a former National Security Agency contractor in August and, according to law enforcement officials, is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed by the agency to hack into the networks of foreign governments.

“The arrest raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, a contractor for the consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton managed to steal highly damaging secret information while working for the N.S.A. In 2013, Edward J. Snowden, who was also a Booz Allen contractor, took a vast trove of documents from the agency that were later passed to journalists, exposing surveillance programs in the United States and abroad.

“The contractor was identified as Harold T. Martin III of Glen Burnie, Md., according to a criminal complaint filed in late August and unsealed Wednesday. Mr. Martin, who at the time of his arrest was working as a contractor for the Defense Department after leaving the N.S.A., was charged with theft of government property and the unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents.

“Mr. Martin, 51, was arrested during an F.B.I. raid on his home on Aug. 27. A neighbor, Murray Bennett, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that two dozen F.B.I. agents wearing military-style uniforms and armed with long guns stormed the house, and later escorted Mr. Martin out in handcuffs.”

WILLIAM BINNEY, williambinney0802 [at]
Binney is a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement after 30 years, blew the whistle on NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion communications. Snowden has said: “I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules.”

Binney said today: “When the first public reports of the source code for hacking developed in the TAO [Tailored Access Operations] of NSA hit, I immediately thought there was a second Snowden. This one in the TAO. That’s the only way all this source code could come out. Now, looks like that was right. My main problem with NSA in this area is that they knew these weaknesses existed and made no move to fix them. That’s because they needed these weaknesses to be able to look into what people were doing. I have said for a number of years that this was short sighted thinking that put us all at risk. And, that’s exactly what has happened. OPM [Office of Personnel Management] and many others got hacked. Well, maybe now with this compromise, they will move to fix these problems and make us all more secure; instead of allowing these vulnerabilities to continue to exist so that hacks can occur and they can fear monger for more money, pointing to the dangers of cyber attacks that they knew could happen. What a swindle.”