Booz Allen Hamilton Fired An Employee: Here’s Why It Is Notable

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Shares of Booz Allen Hamilton Holding (NYSE: BAH), a provider of management and technology, consulting and engineering services to the U.S. government and other international governments and corporations, saw its stock trade lower by more than 3 percent on Wednesday – because it fired an employee.

Normally reports of a single employee being let go by a company won’t make the headlines.  It will however become notable when that employee allegedly provided consulting services to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and allegedly stole state secrets.

According to The New York Times, the U.S. Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) arrested a reported Booz Allen contractor under suspicion he may have stole and disclosed highly classified computer code.

The contractor, identified as Harold Martin III, reportedly stole computer data and code which would be used by the agency to break into computer systems in Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.  It is however unclear what exactly Martin planned to do with the stolen information had he not been caught.

As noted by The New York Times, this wouldn’t mark the first time a Booz Allen employee allegedly stole data.  Edward Snowden, also a former employee of the company, obtained a trove of data which was passed on journalists and non-government agencies.

In fact, an official told The New York Post that Martin may have been stealing data since before Snowden’s actions were brought into the public spotlight.  

Regardless of the timeline, a second breach could have long lasting consequences for both the NSA as well as Booz Allen.  

Booz Allen Responds

Booz Allen released a statement on Wednesday which addressed the issue.  

The company said that when it learned of the FBI’s involvement, it reached out to the necessary authorities to offer its complete cooperation.  The contractor has been fired and management plans to continue fully cooperating with the government in its investigation.

Booz Allen also confirmed that the investigation does not pose any material changes to its client engagement.

Shares of Booz Allen are trading nearly flat since the start of 2016 but are higher by nearly 15 percent over the past year and by more than 100 percent over the past five years.