US: Ex-contractor committed ‘breathtaking’ theft of secrets

FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, the sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. Barring a last-minute deal in Congress, three post 9/11 surveillance laws used against spies and terrorists are set to expire midnight Sunday. Will that make Americans less secure? Absolutely, senior Obama administration officials say. Nonsense, counter civil liberties activists. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, the sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. Barring a last-minute deal in Congress, three post 9/11 surveillance laws used against spies and terrorists are set to expire midnight Sunday. Will that make Americans less secure? Absolutely, senior Obama administration officials say. Nonsense, counter civil liberties activists. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says a former National Security Agency contractor’s theft of top secret information was “breathtaking” in its scope.

Federal prosecutors revealed new details Thursday about their case against Harold Martin, a Maryland man arrested in August on charges of stealing classified information.

They say his theft involved government materials dating from 1996 to 2016, and that handwritten notes found in his possession describe the NSA’s classified computer infrastructure.

Prosecutors also say they seized from Martin 50,000 gigabytes of information. One gigabyte can hold approximately 65,000 pages of images and text.

Martin’s attorneys have said he never meant to harm his country.

The details were filed in a memorandum aimed at persuading a judge to keep Martin in custody.

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