Former NSA Worker Sentenced for Selling Secrets

( – On Monday April 29, former National Security Agency (NSA) employee Jareh Sebastian Dalke was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison.

Dalke pleaded guilty to six counts of attempting to transmit classified national security information to a foreign agent in 2023. U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore commented during sentencing that he could have given Dalke a much longer sentence. Moore referred to the 262-month sentence as a “mercy” in a case that he saw as a calculated plan to work for the NSA for the express purpose of selling national security information.

Dalke, a 32-year-old veteran from Colorado Springs, only worked for the NSA from June 6 to July 1 in 2022. He was in the process of reapplying to work at the NSA again when he tried to sell classified information to an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) posing as someone working for the Russian government. In email exchanges with the FBI agent, he claimed to want to “cause change” and “balance the scales” for what he saw as America’s role in damaging the world. He was also deeply in debt from credit cards and student loans.

Defense attorneys for Dalke requested just 14 years in prison for their client, claiming the sentencing should reflect that the data he sold never made it into enemy hands. Other arguments for the defense mentioned emotional and physical trauma. Assistant federal public defender David Kraut says Dalke has a traumatic brain injury. He also brought up Dalke’s troubled childhood witnessing substance abuse and domestic violence, adding that it can have lifelong effects. However, Judge Moore was skeptical as no expert witness testimony or hospital records were provided.

The information Dalke transferred to his fictional Russian contact contained descriptions of sensitive U.S. defense capabilities. Also included were threat assessments of the military offensive capabilities of an unnamed country that was neither America nor Russia. Dalke was originally paid $16,499 in cryptocurrency for his initial transfer which was used as proof he had information to sell. Once an agreement could be reached, he had agreed to sell the rest for $85,000. FBI agents arrested him on September 28, 2022, at Denver’s downtown train station immediately following his transfer of the remaining classified data.

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