A former National Security Agency employee recently pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to sell information to Russia that was classified.
That announcement was made on Monday by the Department of Justice.
In a press release, the DOJ said Jareh Sebastian Dalke, a 31-year-old from Colorado, pleaded guilty to six different counts of attempting to transmit classified information to a Russian agent.
He admitted that in August 2022 and September 2022, he transferred excerpts of three different classified documents via encrypted email to someone he thought was an agent for Russia. In actuality, that person was an employee of the FBI who was working undercover.
The excerpts that Dalke transferred all contained National Defense Information that was classified as SCI, or Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information. He obtained those excerpts when he was an employee with the NSA from June to July of 2022.
In exchange for sending the information to who he thought was a Russian agent, Dalke requested that he be sent $85,000. The DOJ said this request occurred around August 26 of 2022.
The suspect claimed that the information he had would be valuable to Russia, and he further promised that he would share additional information with the agent in the future.
Dalke then set up an additional transfer of classified information to the person he thought was a Russian agent. The meeting was supposed to be transferred via laptop in downtown Denver, which came from instructions that the undercover FBI agent gave to him.
Ultimately, Dalke sent the FBI agent five files, four additional files that were top secret NDI and one letter. Moments after he did so, he was placed under arrest.
The DOJ said that Dalke wrote in that letter:
“I am very happy to finally provide this information to you … I look forward to our friendship and shared benefit. Please let me know if there are desired documents to find and I will try when I return to my main office.”
As part of the plea deal he agreed to, Dalke conceded that he was wilfully transferring those files to the employee at the FBI. He also admitted that he believed that the information he was giving over would damage the United States and ultimately benefit Russia.
Dalke is set to be sentenced for his crimes on April 26 of next year. He faces a maximum potential penalty of life in prison.
As part of the plea deal, though, federal prosecutors agreed that they wouldn’t ask for more than roughly 22 years in prison for him – as long as he adheres to all the terms set forth in the deal.
The judge in the case will ultimately decide his fate, though most of the time, accepting responsibility for the crime like Dalke committed typically would result in a lighter prison sentence.
After he was arrested, Dalke said he wanted to “cause change” after he questioned the role that the U.S. played in causing damage around the world. He added that he was also $237,000 in debt.