An ex-National Security Agency (NSA) agent in his 30s was taken into custody by the federal authorities after it was alleged that he attempted to sell national secrets to an undercover FBI agent whom he mistook for a foreign operative.
Jareh Sebastian Dalke, a resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was arraigned on espionage-related offenses on Thursday. He is alleged to have tried to convey National Defense Information (NDI) to a Russian intelligence agent. Dalke made his initial court appearance after being charged with espionage on Wednesday.
According to the Justice dept, Dalke sent many confidential papers to a man he thought worked for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service by utilizing an encrypted email address.
“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,” the DOJ stated
During the months of June and July of this year, Dalke worked for the NSA as an information systems security designer. On Wednesday, he was arrested when he came to meet up with his contact to supposedly sell confidential material.
Former NSA employee sent classified docs to someone he thought was a foreign government agent. Turned out he sent them to an undercover FBI guy… https://t.co/8ev8HbvoN4
— Thomas Brewster (@iblametom) September 29, 2022
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According to the Department of Justice, Dalke allegedly confessed to an undercover FBI agent that he was still employed by the organization and that he would trade confidential information for a certain cryptocurrency. According to reports, the information in question connected to the cyber security of the United States.
“On or about Aug. 26, 2022, Dalke requested $85,000 in return for additional information in his possession. 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,” the DOJ said.
According to the records filed in the court case, Dalke is said to have told the undercover agent that he “recently learned that my heritage ties back to your country, which is part of the reason I have come to you.”
According to the allegations made against him, he also claimed that he wanted to sell the records because he “questioned our role in damage to the world in the past and by mixture of curiosity for secrets and a desire to bring change.”
Per the allegations, one of the records that were going to be sold had a classification of “secret,” while two of the others had classifications of “top secret.” He was accused of breaking the Espionage Act on three separate occasions.
Prior to that, Dalke had volunteered his time with the Colorado Rangers, which is a state-level law enforcement organization. Colonel Ronald M. Abramson of the Rangers expressed his dissatisfaction with the charges, saying that he was surprised by them.
According to statements made by Abramson to CBS News Colorado, “We are enormously disappointed about the claims; but, we must wait for the federal process to run its course.” Since then, the Rangers have decided not to allow Dalke to return to work.
Dalke faces the possibility of being sentenced to life in prison or even the death penalty if he is found guilty.