Mar 28, 2019

Former NSA contractor pleads guilty to decades-long security breach

Photo: Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

Former National Security Agency contractor Harold Martin pleaded guilty on Thursday to willfully retaining classified national defense information, including NSA hacking tools.

The big picture: This is the largest known security breach in U.S. intelligence history, per CNN — for 20 years Martin had been stealing classified national defense information while working for 7 private companies and several government agencies. If the court accepts his guilty plea, he faces 9 years in prison. This would be the longest-ever sentence imposed for retaining secrets illegally, according to the U.S. attorney for Maryland, Robert K. Hur.

Between the lines: Investigators didn’t find proof that Martin had shared stolen secrets with anyone, but they have found evidence indicating potential intent to do so, per the New York Times.

  • The hacking group known as Shadow Brokers released a list of tools the NSA used right around the time Martin was arrested in August 2016. But they continued to post after he was in jail, and investigators determined he wasn't behind Shadow Brokers, at least wittingly, per the Times.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

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Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

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Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

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