The information the former contractor was accused of stealing over two decades is something this countrys enemies would love to explore, a judge said
A former National Security Agency contractor accused in a massive theft of classified information will remain in custody as prosecutors continue constructing a criminal case against him, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
US magistrate Judge A David Copperthite agreed with prosecutors that Harold T Martin III of Glen Burnie, Maryland, represented a flight risk if released and said there was no doubt that the top secret information he was accused of stealing over two decades is something this countrys enemies would love to explore.
Martins lawyers foreshadowed their upcoming defense, describing him as a compulsive hoarder and telling there was no evidence he ever shared the information with a foreign country or even intended to do so.
Hes not Edward Snowden, told James Wyda, the federal defender representing Martin, referring to the former NSA contractor who three years ago disclosed to Guardian journalists secret information about government surveillance programs.
Wyda told Martin, a former US navy lieutenant, never intended to harm his country and was instead a voracious learner who got carried away over the years as he took home documents in a perhaps misguided effort to be as skilled at his task as he could be. He indicated Martin had mental health problems.
This was not spycraft behavior, Wyda told. This is not how a Russian snoop or something like that would ever conduct himself.
This, he added, was the behavior of a compulsive hoarder.
The justice department presented a vastly different portrait.
Prosecutors have said FBI agents who searched Martins home and car in August found evidence of a breathtaking theft of top secret government information. Examiners observed records dated from 1996 to 2016, confiscated dozens of computers and digital storage devices and, all told, recovered some 50 gigabytes of information or enough to fill approximately 200 laptops. A substantial amount of that information, prosecutors told, was highly categorized.
There is no reason to believe that the defendant would have ever stopped but for the efforts of law enforcement, told Zachary Myers, assistant US attorney.
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