Sunday, May 19, 2024

Death Sentence Possible for NSA Employee Charged with Espionage

A former National Security Agency (NSA) employee appeared in federal court Thursday on charges that he tried to transmit classified information to a representative of a foreign government. 

That man, Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 30, allegedly used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents he obtained. He allegedly sent them to someone he believed was working for an unnamed foreign government.

This, according to a statement that the U.S. Department of Justice published this week.

“In actuality, that person was an undercover FBI agent. Dalke subsequently arranged to transfer additional classified information in his possession to the undercover FBI agent at a location in Denver, Colorado,” DOJ officials stated.

Dalke arrived at the agreed-upon location on Wednesday. FBI agents arrested him that day.

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“Dalke told that individual that he had taken highly sensitive information relating to foreign targeting of U.S. systems and information on U.S. cyber operations, among other topics. Dalke represented to the undercover FBI agent that he was still employed by the U.S. government but said he was on a temporary assignment at a field location. Dalke requested compensation via a specific type of cryptocurrency in exchange for the information he possessed and stated that he was in financial need,” according to the DOJ.

“To prove he had access to sensitive information, Dalke transmitted excerpts of three classified documents to the undercover FBI agent. Each excerpt contained classification markings. One excerpt was classified at the Secret level, and two excerpts were classified at the Top Secret level. In return for this information, the FBI undercover agent provided the requested cryptocurrency to an address Dalke provided.”

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“Dalke also told the FBI undercover agent that he would share additional information in the future, once he returned to the Washington, D.C., area. Although he was not employed by the NSA while communicating with the FBI, Dalke re-applied to the NSA in August 2022,” DOJ officials said.

Authorities charged Dalke with three violations of the Espionage Act. The charge carries a potential sentence of death, according to the DOJ.

According to the NSA’s website, anyone who receives a conditional job offer from that agency must submit to a background investigation. That investigation is designed to “determine a candidate’s stability, trustworthiness, reliability, discretion, character, honesty, judgment and unquestioned loyalty to the United States.”

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