On Monday, a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) pleaded guilty to attempting to sell classified information to Russia.
As ABC News reports, the case of Jareh Sebastian Dalke will conclude in April when he is sentenced. If he follows the conditions of a recently-negotiated plea deal, prosecutors will agree to ask for no more than 22 years in prison, although the final sentence will be up to the judge.
The 31-year-old Dalke, an Army veteran from Colorado Springs, could face a life sentence after he gave confidential national security information to a man who he believed was a Russian agent, but was in fact an undercover FBI agent. During the exchange, Dalke said that he wanted to “cause change” in response to what he believed was damage caused by the United States on a global scale. However, he also mentioned having $237,000 in debt, and ultimately chose to aid Russia because his heritage “ties back to your country.”
Following the exchange of several excerpts of the information he had obtained, Dalke received $16,499 in cryptocurrency; he then offered to sell the rest of the information for another $85,000. He was ordered to go to the train station in downtown Denver on September 28th, 2022, for the handoff of the remaining information; moments after transferring the files via his laptop, he was arrested by FBI agents.
The information Dalke attempted to sell included a threat assessment of the military capabilities of a third, unnamed nation, as well as sensitive descriptions of U.S. defense capabilities.
While pleading guilty before U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore, Dalke spoke in brief answers to questions from Moore regarding the terms of the plea deal. He also said that he had been taking medications for mental health issues during the last year in custody.