nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Martin (D. Maryland Feb. 8, 2017) (indictment in NSA theft case)

February 9, 2017

From the press release (indictment is available via the link at the bottom):

A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Harold Thomas Martin III, 52, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, with willful retention of national defense information.

The indictment was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein for the District of Maryland and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office.

“As a private contractor who worked on classified programs at various U.S. government agencies, the defendant was entrusted with access to sensitive government materials," said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “Martin allegedly violated the trust our nation put in him by stealing and retaining classified documents and other material relating to the national defense. Insider threats are a significant danger to our national security and we will continue to work relentlessly with our law enforcement and intelligence partners to identify, pursue and prosecute such individuals.”

“The indictment alleges that for as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government by stealing documents containing highly classified information,” said U.S. Attorney Rosenstein.

"The FBI investigation and this indictment reveal a broken trust from a security clearance holder," said Special Agent Johnson. "Willfully retaining highly classified national defense information in a vulnerable setting is a violation of the security policy and the law, which weakens our national security and cannot be tolerated. The FBI is vigilant against such abuses of trust, and will vigorously investigate cases whenever classified information is not maintained in accordance with the law."

According to the indictment, from December 1993 through Aug. 27, 2016, Martin was employed by at least seven different private companies and assigned as a contractor to work at a number of government agencies. Martin was required to receive and maintain a security clearance in order to work at each of the government agencies to which he was assigned. Martin held security clearances up to Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) at various times, and worked on a number of highly classified, specialized projects where he had access to government computer systems, programs and information, including classified information. Over his many years of holding a security clearance, Martin received training regarding classified information and his duty to protect classified materials from unauthorized disclosure.

The indictment alleges that beginning no earlier than 1996 and continuing through Aug. 27, 2016, Martin stole and retained U.S. government property, including documents that bore markings indicating that they were property of the U.S. and contained highly classified information, including TOP SECRET/SCI. A Top Secret classification means that unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the U.S.

Martin allegedly retained stolen documents containing classified information relating to the national defense at his residence and in his vehicle. Martin knew that the stolen documents contained classified information that related to national defense and that he was never authorized to retain these documents at his residence or in his vehicle.

If convicted, Martin faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the 20 counts of willful retention of national defense information. Martin’s initial appearance is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 14, before U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Martin remains detained.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security McCord and U.S. Attorney Rosenstein commended the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked the Maryland State Police for its assistance. Ms. McCord and Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary A. Myers, Nicolas A. Mitchell and Harvey E. Eisenberg for the District of Maryland and Trial Attorney David Aaron of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, who are prosecuting the case.

Martin Harold Indictment

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Suarez (S.D. Fla. Jan. 31, 2017) (jury conviction in ISIL case involving nail bomb plot)

February 1, 2017

And yet another conviction secured by DOJ. Details from the press release:

WASHINGTON – Harlem Suarez, a/k/a “Almlak Benitez,” 23, of Monroe County, Florida was convicted by a federal jury of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, specifically, an explosive device, and providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and members of the South Florida FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

“Harlem Suarez, a self-professed ISIL adherent, attempted to use a weapon of mass destruction – a backpack bomb – in the United States and now stands convicted of two terrorism offenses,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “Stopping attacks on our homeland by those inspired or directed by designated foreign terrorist organizations is the highest priority of the National Security Division. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for today’s result.”

“By intending to place an explosive device on a public beach, Harlem Suarez posed a grave threat to the residents and visitors of Key West,” stated U.S. Attorney Ferrer. “It is because of the Joint Terrorism Task Force’s unwavering commitment to our national security that law enforcement is able to prevent potential attacks on American soil that are inspired or directed by terrorist organizations. Let this case serve as an example to others that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners stand as a united front against all domestic threats.”

"Suarez wanted to kill innocent people by detonating a nail laced explosive filled backpack on a crowded Key West beach," said Special Agent in Charge Piro. “He was denied his terroristic dreams by several hardworking, dedicated law enforcement organizations and professionals. This is a job well done."

Suarez was convicted at trial of knowingly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against a person or property within the U.S., in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 2332a(a)(2) and providing material support to a terrorist organization, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 2339B. Suarez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez in Key West, Florida, on April 18 at 1:30 p.m.

According to evidence introduced at trial, in April 2015, Suarez’s Facebook postings contained extremist rhetoric and promoted ISIL. Evidence further indicated that Suarez told an FBI confidential human source that he wanted to make a “timer bomb.” Suarez purchased components for this device, which was to contain galvanized nails, be concealed in a backpack and be remotely detonated by a cellular telephone. Suarez intended to bury the device at a public beach in Key West and then detonate it.

Trial evidence showed that on July 27, 2015, Suarez took possession of an inert explosive device and was arrested.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI; FBI-JTTF; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; the Key West Police Department; Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Florida; and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marc S. Anton and Karen E. Gilbert, with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.