>> Herald Thomas Martin, the former NSA contractor accused of stealing what prosecutors say is a breath taking amount of classified material, to be charged under the Espionage Act. An escalation of charges carrying much harsher penalties. Reuters cyber security correspondent Dustin Volz is covering the trial.>> This was really an enormous heist of data that the government is alleging Martin stole, from not just the NSA but multiple government agencies.
They said that this took place over more than two decades in time. And that in total, Martin may have taken at least 50 terabytes of information, which is enough data to fill dozens of hard drives. It it were just physical paper, it could fill millions of books, entire libraries.
So when we're talking about 50 terabytes, this is huge, this is far bigger than what we've seen in previous thefts of government data. This, according to some officials, is maybe the biggest theft of government data on record.>> 51-year-old Martin was taken into custody earlier this month on felony theft charges.
But Volz says the scope of the heist demanded a more severe indictment.>> US officials have also told Reuters that they are investigating Martin for potentially being linked to the leak of NSA hacking tools online this summer. This is a leak that has been fascinating the cybersecurity community for months.
Unclear who leaked the secret code and for what purpose. And a lot of investigators are thinking that Martin actually might be the source of that. It certainly adds a heightened intrigue to what his motives were and perhaps who he was involved with over the past several years.>> Martin is scheduled to appear in court for a detention hearing on Friday.
A conviction under the Espionage Act can include prison time for up to ten years for each count.