A former National Security Agency (NSA) employee may face life in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to sell US defense secrets to Russia in exchange for crypto.
31-year-old Jareh Sebastian Dalke leaked four top secret files and excerpts of three more while working as an information systems security designer for the NSA.
Dalke shared these files with an FBI online covert employee (OCE) whom he believed was a Russian Federation agent. Last week’s plea agreement says he shared the top secret documents with the intent to “injure the United States and to benefit [Russia].”
Dalke requested $85,000 in crypto for the documents and promised he could supply more in the future. For the three excerpts, the OCE sent Dalke $16,499 in undisclosed crypto. Protos reported last year that the crypto was likely Monero.
The crypto was received through his Kraken account. Then he converted some of it into US dollars before sending the funds to a Colorado bank in his name.
Dalke used secrets and crypto to pay off debt
Dalke was a former military man before joining the NSA in June 2022. He later resigned after his request for extended leave to take care of a sick family member was rejected. He then successfully applied for another NSA role before offering the previously acquired classified information for sale.
He told the supposed Russian agent he was $237,000 in debt at the time and owed $93,000 “very soon.” Further arrangements were made to transfer more classified documents to the OCE. But after traveling to Union Station in downtown Denver to transfer five more files — four of which were top secret — Dalke was arrested.
The fifth file was a letter in Russian that read: “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.”
Dalke was charged last year with six counts of attempting to transmit classified national defense information.
His sentencing is scheduled for April 26, 2024. He faces up to life in prison, or no more than 262 months if he cooperates and shares information deemed “truthful, complete, accurate and of value” by the government.