A former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) was charged with espionage for allegedly trying to sell classified national defense information to an undercover agent he believed to be working for a foreign government, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
Jareh Sebastian Dalke, a 30-year-old Army veteran of Colorado Springs, Colorado, worked at the NSA as an information systems security designer from June 6 to July 1, 2022. According to the DOJ, Dalke used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents he had obtained during his employment to an undercover FBI agent disguised as a representative of a foreign government.
Dalke was arrested on Sept. 28, after he arrived at a public location in Denver, expecting to meet the undercover agent and transfer one additional classified document. He allegedly told the agent that he has a debt of $237,000, and asked for a “specific type of cryptocurrency” in exchange for the “highly sensitive information” he possessed. The FBI ended up sending him about $4,600 worth of cryptocurrency as a “good faith payment” to help with his financial problems.
The information, according to an affidavit (pdf) supporting the criminal complaint, involves topics such as the threat assessment of the foreign country’s military offensive capabilities, a cryptographic program used by the U.S. government, and the threat assessment of U.S. defense capabilities, a portion of which relates to that foreign country.
While the foreign government is not identified, the affidavit states that Dalke claimed to have reached out to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, to make that he was actually communicating with a foreign government entity “rather than Americans trying to stifle a patriot.”