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Prosecutors Say NSA Contractor Could Flee To Foreign Power (go.com) 44

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC News: The NSA contractor accused of stealing a gargantuan amount of sensitive and classified data from the U.S. government was studying Russian before he was arrested and would be a "prime target" for foreign spies should he be released on bail, prosecutors argued ahead of a court hearing for Harold Martin, III, today. The government said it is "readily apparent to every foreign counterintelligence professional and nongovernmental actor that the Defendant has access to highly classified information, whether in his head, in still-hidden physical locations, or stored in cyberspace -- and he has demonstrated absolutely no interest in protecting it. This makes the Defendant a prime target, and his release would seriously endanger the safety of the country and potentially even the Defendant himself." Prosecutors noted that Martin purportedly communicated online "with others in languages other than English, including in Russian" and that he had downloaded information on the Russian language just a couple months before he was arrested in August. Martin's attorneys, however, said in their own court filing Thursday that there is still no evidence he "intended to betray his country" and argued that he was not a flight risk. All the talk of foreign spies and potential getaway plans, the defense said, were "fantastical scenarios." Martin's defense team said in part: "The government concocts fantastical scenarios in which Mr. Martin -- who, by the government's own admission, does not possess a valid passport -- would attempt to flee the country. Mr. Martin's wife is here in Maryland. His home is here in Maryland. He hash served this country honorably as a lieutenant in the United States Navy, and he has devoted his entire career to serving his country. There is no evidence he intended to betray his country. The government simply does not meet its burden of showing that no conditions of release would reasonably assure Mr. Martin's future appearance in court. For these reasons, and additional reasons to be discussed at the detention hearing, Mr. Martin should be released on conditions pending trial."

UPDATE 10/21/16: Slashdot reader chromaexursion writes: "Harold Martin was denied bail. The judge agreed the the prosecution in his decision."
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Prosecutors Say NSA Contractor Could Flee To Foreign Power

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    • by Anonymous Coward

      What a weird time to do a Sean Connery impression..

  • ...use a full clip to be extra safe.
  • by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @05:26PM (#53126501)
    Do you know what it takes to flee to another country? Go to the Mexico border at any of the well established public border crossings and walk across, along with hundreds of other people. No fuss, no problem.
    • You expect him to not try for bail?

    • Yup they have a subway style one way turnstile to get to Mexico at San Ysidro / Tijuana. The Mexican gov't has some scary looking guys with assault rifles checking bags, but if you have no bags you can just walk right past without needing to even say hello (or hola). You'll be eating fresh churros before the trolley that took you to the border has even left for it's return trip. With a few hundred Benjamins in your pockets you'll be set for a few months.

      That said, you'd better have a strategy for getting

  • "... prosecutors argued ahead of a court hearing for Harold Martin, III, today. "

    Why the heck is there a comma between "Martin" and "III"? Trying to interpret where the error is in that sentence fragment introduces various possibilities for interpretation, especially with a sans serif font.

    - Is he the third person of that name in his family?

    - Is he ill?

    - Is he from Illinois?

    - Is he, in fact, an extremely young and very precocious child?

  • is now a crime along with studying privacy and encryption software?
    Given the flow of "Russian" related stories on slashdot, would studying Russian not now be the trending language to get a promotion in the NSA?
    Or at least have some skills on show to fend off been replace by a contractor?
    Is the NSA and GCHQ now tracking educational Russian language sites like it did crypto sites?
    How the NSA Targets Tor Users (July 4, 2014)
    http://motherboard.vice.com/re... [vice.com]
    Was XKeyscore or its upgrade now tasked to wat
    • by tsqr ( 808554 )

      Given the flow of "Russian" related stories on slashdot, would studying Russian not now be the trending language to get a promotion in the NSA? Or at least have some skills on show to fend off been replace by a contractor?

      You might have a point, if he wasn't already a contractor rather than an employee. If he was an NSA employee wanting to learn Russian and the NSA wanted him to learn Russian, the NSA would pay him to learn Russian.

  • One of the conditions of bail being granted is risk of flight.
    Given the example of Snowden, the risk of flight is incredible. No amount of bail could keep him in this country.
    • From all the press reports I've read this guy took classified information home simply because he was working from home. There is no evidence he ever intended to release any of the information nor that he intended to do anything with it other than his job. The government wants to make an example out of him because of Snowden but by all appearances the guy was just incompetent at his job by doing stuff he shouldn't have done.

      He should be punished for what he did as it exposed the country to great risk with ov

      • nothing the NSA does will 'expose the country to great risk'.

        that's bullshit.

        but keep believing the lies the authorities tell you.

        the age of 'spy vs spy' is over. lets please move on and end this crap, already.

    • Funny, here I was thinking people were to be judged based on their own actions, not those of others. Will he also be sentenced for whatever crimes Snowden has committed, do you think?

  • by ninthbit ( 623926 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @07:59PM (#53127267)

    Why flee.... It sounds like he's a good candidate to be our next President. Did he at least store the data on a sever that has Internet access?

    Oh oh... His defense could be that he didn't want it to get accidentally deleted by the next administration. He was creating a backup!!!

  • The government took prudent action in denying bail until more info is discovered. If all the guy did was bring classified home to work at home, he'll get a good slap of a year in prison or something along those lines. But if he really did or plan to deliver classified to a foreign country, the limit is death. I worked at a defense contractor at one point and they made it crystal clear the death penalty is on the table if you start spying for other countries.

    • If all the guy did was bring classified home to work at home, he'll get a good slap of a year in prison or something along those lines.

      He could always decide to run for president...

  • It's easier to understand the allegations of flight risk if we picture that the statements were concocted in a scene much like this one: http://www.popoptiq.com/wp-con... [popoptiq.com]

  • It important to remember that Edward Snowden was a contractor. Why did he work for NSA as a contractor instead of a regular employee? Because he had no degree. Such people are generally shunned by HR managers. But if they have the right skills, hiring managers will often use contractor status to circumvent their own HR dept.

    Thanks to a number of lawsuits, most employers have mandatory time limits for contractors, typically 1-3 years. Although many employers promote their best contractors to regular em

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