U.S. News


Former NSA employee gets 21-year sentence for trying to sell secrets to Russia

In a plea deal, he admitted he willfully transmitted the sensitive documents, knowing that doing so could injure the U.S. defense.
A close-up photo of a classified document
Posted at 2:32 PM, Apr 30, 2024

A former National Security Agency agent received a 21-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to attempting to transmit national defense information to Russia.

The Justice Department said Jareh Sebastian Dalke was employed by the NSA for about four weeks in 2022 as an information security systems designer. After he was employed by the NSA, he used an encrypted email to send top-secret information to a person who was identified as a Russian agent.

It turns out this person was working undercover for the FBI.

“This defendant, who had sworn an oath to defend our country, believed he was selling classified national security information to a Russian agent, when in fact, he was outing himself to the FBI,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. “This sentence demonstrates that those who seek to betray our country will be held accountable for their crimes. I am grateful to the FBI Denver and Washington Field Offices for their extraordinary work on this case.”

The Justice Department said that in August 2022, Dalke requested $85,000 to send all the sensitive information in his possession. He claimed to the undercover agent that the information was of value to Russia, and that he would share additional information when he would return to Washington, D.C.

Prosecutors said he transferred five files, four containing top-secret defense information. The fifth file said, 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.”

The DOJ said that Dalke was arrested moments after sending the email.

Prosecutors said that as part of the guilty plea agreement, Dalke admitted that he willfully transmitted the sensitive documents knowing it could injure U.S. defense.