Former NSA contractor Harold Martin pleads guilty to 'willful retention of national defense information'

Former NSA contractor Harold Martin today changed his plea to guilty, on charges of willful retention of national defense information.

Harold Martin was originally charged with 20 counts of violating the Espionage Act. He now appears more likely to face up to a recommended 9 years in prison, after pleading guilty to only the one charge, and may get credit for time served.

Martin was arrested in 2016 on charges he stole an enormous amount of sensitive information and stored it on various devices he kept at his home in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

From CBS News, Baltimore:

He initially pleaded not guilty.

The government recommended a nine-year-sentence. Martin has already served two and a half years, which he will get credit for.

He pleaded guilty to one count of stealing a top secret NSA document and leaving it in his car, and another copy in the living room of his Glen Burnie home.

His sentencing is scheduled for July.

And from a 2016 Daily Beast profile of Martin:

The retired Navy officer arrested for allegedly removing highly classified information from the National Security Agency worked with the organization's elite computer hackers, who specialize in using computer code to penetrate the systems of foreign nations, according to a former colleague and the man's online resume.

Harold Thomas Martin, III, who goes by Hal, was also enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The university has a partnership with the NSA, in which the agency helps develop curriculum for the school and agency employees can take classes there.

Martin worked with NSA's Tailored Access Operations unit, sources with knowledge of his background told The Daily Beast. In his LinkedIn resume, Martin says he worked as a "cyber engineering advisor" supporting "various cyber related initiatives" in the Defense Department and intelligence community.

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