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NSA guy who tried and failed to spy for Russia gets 262 months in the slammer

A former NSA employee has been sentenced to 262 months in prison for attempting to do freelance as a Russian spy.

In his trial yesterday, Jareh Sebastian Dalke pleaded guilty to six counts of attempted transmission of top-secret info to a foreign agent as announced by the Department of Justice. He had worked at the NSA as an information systems security designer for just under a month from June to July 2022, making quick work of the short period by accumulating top secret documents with national defense information (NDI).

Between August and September that year, shortly after leaving the NSA, Dalke made contact with a person he thought was a Russian agent. To prove his “legitimate access and willingness to share,” he then emailed the apparent spy snippets of three top secret, classified documents with NDI. Dalke then said he’d be willing to sell the full documents and more for just $85k.

Only there was one problem: he was talking to an undercover FBI agent.

Dalke and the FBI agent then arranged a time and place to hand over the documents. On September 28, the former NSA worker took his laptop to Union Station in Denver and sent the documents to the FBI agent over the internet. Dalke also included a letter in Russian that said, among other things, “My friends! I am very happy to finally provide this information to you… I look forward to our friendship and shared benefit.”

Of course, the FBI agent was not his friend and the whole thing was a sting operation, and the former NSA employee was arrested just after he sent the classified materials. Dalke pleaded guilty from the outset.

“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,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “This sentence demonstrates that those who seek to betray our country will be held accountable for their crimes.”

Sentencing law is somewhat complex, but assuming Dalke can’t serve any of his counts concurrently and that he doesn’t get out early, he’ll be getting out in January 2046, and he’ll be 53 or 54.

The NSA employee turned failed Russian informant was remarkably unsuccessful in his attempt to give Russia a helping hand, though it is a little concerning that Dalke had NDI material in his possession at all. The incident isn’t unlike the Teixeira leaks from last month, especially since both Dalke and Teixeira were seemingly completely incompetent in leaking info. Maybe the US government should review who gets access to classified materials, as it seems neither person had any real business handling these docs. ®