Navy serviceman accused of trying to sell classified military documents
Monday, December 6, 2010; 10:20 PM
A Navy intelligence specialist at the Joint Special Operations Command has been accused of taking top secret documents from military networks and offering to sell them to an investigator posing as a foreign agent.
Petty Officer Bryan Minkyu Martin was arrested last week by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, after a sting operation in which he passed classified documents to an FBI undercover agent claiming to be an intelligence officer of a foreign country, according to the affidavit for a search warrant filed last week in a federal court in North Carolina.
Martin, who enlisted in 2007 and was assigned to the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, has not been charged. An attorney for Martin could not be contacted Tuesday night.
The military is investigating Martin under some of the same Espionage Act statutes as those being used to investigate Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, the Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking cables and other classified documents to WikiLeaks.
According to the affidavit, Martin met the agent at a Hampton Inn in Spring Lake, N.C., on Nov. 15. He is alleged to have described his access to various classified systems and offered to bring two classified documents to their next meeting. He also allegedly said that he was seeking "long-term financial reimbursement," that his current assignment focused on Afghanistan and that he would be working for the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Martin said that over his prospective 15- to 20-year career, he could be "very valuable," NCIS special agent Richard J. Puryear said in the affidavit. Puryear said Martin accepted $500 in cash, with the promise of more money to come.
Over the following days, Martin handed over more documents - marked secret and top secret - according to the affidavit. The document shows he was paid a total of $3,500.
Martin's arrest comes as the Pentagon and other federal agencies are trying to strengthen security measures in the wake of WikiLeaks's release of secret diplomatic cables. The State Department said recently that it had cut down access to one of its classified networks.
Manning, who was arrested in May, allegedly exceeded his "authorized access" to the military's Secret Internet Protocol Router network, or Siprnet, to obtain data, according to a charge sheet.
Dale Meyerrose, former chief information officer of the intelligence community, said special authorization is needed for specific parts of Siprnet. An estimated 3 million people have secret-level clearances, but no more than 15 to 20 percent of those have access to Siprnet, he said.
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.