A Colorado Springs man who was employed by the National Security Agency used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents to someone he thought was working for an unnamed foreign government.
Jareh Sebastian Dalke, who was an Army veteran and known to speak both Spanish and Russian, sent documents he had accessed during his employment to an individual who turned out to be an FBI undercover agent. Dalke was trying to trade the information for cryptocurrency.
“To prove he had access to sensitive information, Dalke transmitted excerpts of three classified documents to the undercover FBI agent,” said a news release from the Department of Justice. “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.”
Dalke told the undercover agent 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.
“At that time, Dalke reported that he had approximately $32,809.52 in student loan debt and $50,987.34 in other non-secured debt, primarily credit card debt,” the FBI agent’s affidavit says. “At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Dalke also reported that he had approximately $8,373.12 in total assets.”
“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,” the Department of Justice said.
Dalke faces charges of the Espionage Act, which could carry a death penalty or life in prison.