WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. secretly arrested a National Security Agency contractor in recent weeks and is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed to hack into the networks of foreign governments, according to several senior law enforcement and intelligence officials.
The arrest raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, an insider has managed to steal highly damaging secret information from the N.S.A. In 2013, Edward J. Snowden, who was also a contractor for the agency, took a vast trove of documents that were later passed to journalists, exposing N.S.A. surveillance programs in the United States and abroad.
The contractor was identified as Harold T. Martin III, 51, of Glen Burnie, Md., according to a criminal complaint filed in late August. He was charged with theft of government property, and unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents. During an F.B.I. raid of his house, agents seized documents and digital information stored on electronic devices. A large percentage of the materials found in his house and car contained highly classified information.
Note that this is only a reaction to what has already been happening months ago, as mentioned last September. U.S. officials then voiced concern over a high-tech Russian deep-sea spy vessel gathering intelligence from America’s nuclear submarine bases, which also happened to be equipped with cable cutting equipment. It was built to identify undersea communications trunk lines and nodes.
WASHINGTON — Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of conflict.
The issue goes beyond old Cold War worries that the Russians would tap into the cables — a task American intelligence agencies also mastered decades ago. The alarm today is deeper: In times of tension or conflict, the ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West’s governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent. Continue reading