Federal authorities are investigating claims by a Marine that he gave stolen top-secret anti-terrorism files to two Los Angeles law enforcement officials.
The investigation by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service follows testimony by Gunnery Sgt. Gary Maziarz, who said during a court-martial that he passed classified documents to several people, including a Los Angeles Police officer and a sheriff's detective, according to published newspaper reports.
The testimony by Maziarz, first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, came in July during his court-martial on charges of theft and mishandling classified documents while he was a Marine intelligence analyst.
He later plead guilty to mishandling more than 100 classified documents and passing them to at least four people.
Maziarz, 37, said he acted out of patriotism when he delivered the papers to at least four other accomplices, including the two law enforcement officials who worked with anti-terrorism units at the Los Angeles County police and sheriff's departments, the newspaper reported.
Now investigators believe Maziarz was passing secret files from Camp Pendleton and the U.S. Northern Command, which tracks domestic terrorism activity, as far back as the 1990s, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Maziarz testified that he regularly handed documents to L.A. County Sheriff's Det. Larry Richards, a department counterterrorism specialist and retired Marine reserve colonel, and LAPD Officer David Litaker, the Times said.
Maziarz was sentenced to 26 months in exchange for information detailing the theft and hand-off of the top secret documents, and agreeing to testify against his alleged accomplices if they are charged.
The plea deal bars Maziarz from talking with the media, the Union-Tribune reported.
The documents, some classified as "Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information," included details about terrorists or suspected terrorists in Southern California.
The Times reported that Los Angeles law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said they believed that much of the intelligence Maziarz allegedly passed would have eventually made its way to local law enforcement agencies.
To date, the sources said, there has been no indication that any of the information had been passed to foreign power or was used for financial gain.
Investigators learned of the operation last year after Camp Pendleton tracked missing Iraq war trophies, such as swords and other weapons, to an apartment and storage units rented by Marziaz.
The case broadened to include accusations of passing top-secret documents after investigators also found surveillance data on suspected terrorists, two locked briefcases, a government record book and other items.
LAPD anti-terrorism officials would not comment on Litaker but indicated that an internal inquiry was underway, the Times reported.
Sheriff's Chief William J. McSweeney told the newspaper they were made aware of the investigation into Richards alleged involvement earlier this year.
He has been placed on leave, the newspaper reported.