The federal investigation, which arrested a former NSA contractor accused of stealing some of the US government's most sensitive hacking tools in 2016, was reportedly initiated on the advice of an unlikely ally: A Russian Cyber Security Company that has attracted the anger of Obama Trump administrations.
Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based company, turned out on Wednesday to be a very strange beggar who helped the FBI capture Harold T. Martin III, according to investigators familiar with Politico , Recent US authorities have accused Kaspersky Lab of cooperating with Russian intelligence agencies to obtain and disclose classified NSA data. For security reasons, Homeland Security even banned the company's software on federal computers.
"It's an irony of irony that the people who worked at Kaspersky and who were already in the eyes of US intelligence agencies had them open to this problem," said Stewart Baker, a general NSA lawyer in the 1
Martin, who arrived in June He was arrested in August 2016 and faces 20 cases of unwarranted and deliberate disclosure of national defense information.
"It seems he was caught being an idiot.
The prosecution says the former NSA contractor spent two decades collecting classified government information from US intelligence and hoarding the secrets in his home in Maryland The authorities confiscated dozens of laptops and digital devices, as well as six crammed bank cassettes.
At least 50 terabytes of data were taken away – and the authorities said transportation was the biggest theft of classified information in US history.
Yet, the massive violation may never have been discovered, but five days before the arrest, a Kaspersky Lab employee told an NSA employee about Martin,
The tipster was allegedly stopped by a series of weird Twitter messages, the two corporate researchers from a report that, in the opinion of the prosecutors belonged to Martin.
Twitter user "HAL999999999" allegedly asked to contact Kaspersky Lab head Eugene Kaspersky, although it is not clear what the user wanted to do with it. Thirty minutes after two of the messages were sent, an online group called the Shadow Brokers began posting data from the NSA online.
Sources told Politico that the Kaspersky researchers were able to link the Twitter account to Martin, wondering if this was also the case tied to the Shadow Brokers group. The researchers decided to notify the NSA.
The identity of HAL999999999 was quickly revealed after the Kaspersky Lab researchers started the name through Google search queries.
According to Politico, a search discovered a mail from someone using the same Alias on a website visited by people who are interested in bondage and sadomasochism. The ad, which sought female sexual partners, reportedly contained a photo of Martin and identified him as living in Annapolis, Maryland.
Another search showed a LinkedIn profile for "Hal Martin". The person behind the report said he had worked for Annapolis Junction as "technical adviser and investigator on offensive cyber issues," Politico reported.
James Wyda, Martin's public defender, told Politico earlier that Martin had hoarded the NSA data in his house because of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. 19659003] Wyda, Kaspersky Lab, the FBI and the US District Prosecutor's Office, who handled the case, refused to comment on Politico's concerns about how important the Russian-based company was at the investigation.
At the time of his arrest in 2016, Martin worked for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp., according to Reuters. previously employed the same company Edward Snowden, who went through secret documents in 2013, the domestic and international Surveillan disclosed NSA ce programs.
Lukas Mikelionis and the Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.