A former employee at the National Security Agency (NSA) has been charged with attempting to transmit classified defense information to a representative of a foreign government. He was arrested on Wednesday and made his initial appearance at a federal court on Thursday.
According to the Department of Justice, Jareh Dalke used an encrypted email account to send excerpts of three classified National Defense Information documents to a foreign spy. In actuality, that foreign spy was an undercover FBI agent, per the charging documents. Dalke allegedly exchanged that information for cryptocurrency, requesting $85,000 in cryptocurrency.
The 30-year-old briefly served as an Information Systems Security Designer at the NSA from June 6 to July 1 of this year. He had reapplied in August but was rejected. It’s not clear why he was let go initially, but Dalke claimed to still be working at the NSA when he first contacted the fake spy on July 29, according to the charging documents. Dalke allegedly claimed that he was in possession of highly sensitive information relating to foreign targeting of U.S. systems and information on U.S. cyber operations. He initially provided excerpts of three classified documents to prove that he really had them, and then requested the payment in exchange for more information, prosecutors said. The FBI agent set up a secure connection to receive the information at a public location in Denver, where Dalke was taken into custody on Wednesday.
Dalke is charged with three violations of the Espionage Act for allegedly transmitting information to a representative of a foreign nation with the intent of harming the U.S. or serving the interest of a foreign government. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death or life in prison.