Former NSA Employee Faces Life in Prison After Espionage Attempt

The ex-employee claimed that he believed the shared information would benefit Russia and harm the US.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

October 24, 2023

1 Min Read
NSA logo on hardware
Source: Carsten Reisinger via Alamy Stock Photo

Former National Security Agency (NSA) employee Jareh Dalke has pleaded guilty on six counts after his transmission of classified government materials in an espionage attempt.

While working as an information systems security designer in the summer of 2022, Dalke used an encrypted email to transmit three documents to someone he believed was a Russian Federation agent in an attempt to display his "legitimate access and willingness to share," according to court documents. In truth, the alleged Russian agent was a covert FBI employee. The information Dalke shared contained National Defense Information (NDI).

On Aug. 26, 2022, Dalke requested $85,000 for sharing the classified information, claiming it "would be of value to Russia."

On Sept. 28, Dalke transferred five more files, four containing "Top Secret NDI," by following instructions provided by the covert FBI employee. The fifth file contained a letter reading "My friends! 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."

Dalke was arrested by the FBI after this second transfer of classified information. He admitted as part of a plea deal that he transferred these files believing that the information would be used to aid Russia and harm the US.

Dalke's sentencing is scheduled for April 26, 2024; he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

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