Former NSA employee pleads guilty to attempted selling classified documents to Russia

Pierluigi Paganini October 24, 2023

A former NSA employee has pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to transmit classified defense information to Russia.

Jareh Sebastian Dalke (31), a former NSA employee has admitted to attempting to convey classified defense information to Russia, pleading guilty to the charges.

The man pleaded guilty today to six counts of attempting to transmit classified National Defense Information (NDI) to an agent of the Russian Federation (Russia).

Dalke served as an Information Systems Security Designer for the NSA from June 6, 2022, to July 1, 2022. The ex-NSA employee had Top Secret clearance that give him access to top secret documents.

“Dalke admitted that between August and September 2022, in order to demonstrate both his “legitimate access and willingness to share,” he used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents to an individual he believed to be a Russian agent.” reads the press release published by DoJ. “In actuality, that person was an FBI online covert employee. All three documents from which the excerpts were taken contain NDI, are classified as Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) and were obtained by Dalke during his employment with the NSA.”

Dalke was deceived by an FBI agent who posed as a Russian spy looking for the classified documents.

Dalke demanded $85,000 for the document in his possession and he shared a sample of such documents with the FBI agent.

Then Dalke arranged to transfer additional classified documents to the fake Russian agent at Union Station in downtown Denver. The man used a laptop and followed the instructions provided by the FBI online covert employee to transfer five files. Four of the transferred files contained Top Secret NDI, the remaining one was a letter, which begins (in Russian and Cyrillic characters) “My friends!” and states, in part, “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 on September 28, shortly after he transmitted the files.

The former NSA employee revealed he leaked the classified documents to injure the United States and to benefit Russia.

The sentencing is scheduled for April 26, 2024, Dalke faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Former NSA employee)

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