Harold Martin, the former National Security Agency contractor who allegedly embarked on a 20-year campaign to take home national security secrets, is expected to appear today in a Baltimore federal courtroom for a hearing to consider whether he should remain in U.S. custody, as prosecutors announced in a court filing that they plan to file Espionage Act charges against him. The Justice Department describes his scheme as “breathtaking in its longevity and scale,” NPR reports.
The FBI is investigating whether Martin may have transferred six bankers boxes’ worth of paper documents and 50,000 gigabytes of electronic materials to anyone else. Investigators said they have not found any connection to a foreign power. Martin has been in federal custody since late August. That’s when FBI agents executed search warrants at his suburban Maryland home, uncovering “overwhelming” proof he mishandled classified information. Among the materials they found: the personal information of government employees and a top-secret document “regarding specific operational plans against a known enemy of the United States and its allies,” according to the court filing. Prosecutors said if Martin is released he has the sophistication to hide some of the stolen information and that his online history suggests he might have been trying to run operating systems on his machines “that would not leave any forensic evidence of his computer activities.”