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Glen Burnie man accused of stealing millions of classified NSA documents expected to plead guilty

A Glen Burnie man accused of stealing reams of classified government documents from the National Security Agency is expected to plead guilty in court this week.

Harold Martin, 54, worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency when he was federally indicted in 2016 of allegedly stealing government property and taking classified information. Martin’s new arraignment is scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m. in front of U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett, prosecutors announced in a news release Wednesday.

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The rearraignment signals a possible change to Martin’s not guilty plea to some or all of the charges. A representative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland declined to comment on whether the rearraignment was prompted by a possible plea agreement.

In an email, Martin’s federal public defender Jim Wyda declined to comment on the hearing and said he plans to issue a statement after the hearing concludes.

Martin announced plans to change his plea once before in 2018, when he said he planned to plead guilty to taking home a single secret document. He withdrew that request about two weeks later, according to court records.

Martin’s public defenders have argued the thefts of government files began in 1998 and were part of his effort to try to get a better understanding of the nation's sprawling security apparatus.

Attorneys argued Martin’s thefts were compulsive and totaled 50 terabytes of data — the equivalent of half a billion pages of documents.

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