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Former NSA employee who tried to sell U.S. secrets to Russia gets 22 years in prison

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A former National Security Agency employee who believed he sold top secrets to Russia was sentenced Monday to nearly 22 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Former employee Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 32, of Colorado Springs, was sentenced to 262 months in prison. according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. he plead guilty Six counts of attempting to transmit classified defense information to foreign agents were indicted last year.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said: “This defendant, sworn to defend our country, believed he was selling classified national security information to a Russian agent, when in fact he was selling it to the FBI (FBI) came out.” said in a statement.

Cole Finegan, the U.S. attorney for Colorado, said Mr. Dahlke’s sentence “reflects the seriousness of his conduct in seeking to harm our country and aid a foreign government.”

Lawyers representing Mr. Dahlke did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

From June 2022 to July 2022, Mr. Dahlke served as an information systems security architect at the National Security Agency. He has reportedly worked for the U.S. Army since 2016 with a secret clearance and received a maximum security clearance when he began working at the agency. Affidavit filed by an agent with the FBI regarding his criminal complaint. He resigned from his job, saying he needed to take nine months off for family reasons, and said the National Security Agency was unable to support his leave.

Around that time, prosecutors said, Mr. Dahlke entered into an email exchange with a person he believed to be a Russian agent. To prove his “lawful intention to access and share,” he used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts from three confidential documents in late July.

But his contact was actually an undercover FBI agent, according to prosecutors.

The three documents excerpted contain defense information classified as top secret and were obtained by Mr. Dahlke while he was working for the National Security Agency.

Prosecutors said Mr. Dahlke demanded $85,000 in August 2022 for the information he collected. He told the contact he was in “financial need” and had nearly $84,000 in debt between student loans and credit cards, according to court records.

Prosecutors said Dahlke claimed the information he was willing to share would be valuable to Russia and told the undercover FBI employee that he would share more information once he returned to Washington, D.C.

The U.S. attorney in Colorado said Dahlke “subsequently arranged for the transfer of other classified information in his possession to alleged Russian agents at Union Station in downtown Denver.”

Authorities said Dahlke used a laptop and transferred five files, four of which contained top-secret information, at the direction of an undercover employee.

FBI agents arrested Dahlke on September 28 last year, shortly after he sent the documents.

One of the documents was a letter. He opened it with a greeting in Russian. “My friend!” he wrote, saying in part: “I am delighted to finally make this information available to you… and I look forward to our friendship and mutual interests.”

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