Former FBI Special Agent Pleads Guilty to Leaking Classified National Defense Information
Terry J. Albury, a former Special Agent of the FBI, pleaded guilty today in the District of Minnesota in connection with his unauthorized disclosure and retention of classified national defense information.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Assistant Director Bill Priestap of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division announced the plea. The plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright.
“Today, Terry Albury admitted to violating his oath to protect our country by disclosing to a reporter classified information that, as an FBI agent, he was entrusted to protect,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Albury admitted that his actions put America at risk. As this prosecution demonstrates, we will not waver in our commitment to pursue and hold accountable government officials who violate their obligations to protect our nation’s secrets and break the laws they have sworn to uphold.”
“Terry Albury betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Doherty-McCormick. “Today’s guilty plea should serve as a reminder to those who are entrusted with classified information that the Justice Department will hold them accountable.”
“Mr. Albury was entrusted by the FBI with a security clearance, which included a responsibility to protect classified national defense information. Instead, he knowingly disclosed that material to someone not authorized to receive it,” said Assistant Director Priestap. “The FBI will work tirelessly to bring to justice those who would expose America’s secrets. Today, as the result of the hard work of dedicated special agents, analysts, and prosecutors, Mr. Albury has taken responsibility for his illegal action.”
“In violating his oath of office Terry Albury not only betrayed the American people, but also his fellow FBI employees who work to safeguard sensitive information on a daily basis," said Special Agent in Charge Laycock. “No one is above the law and the FBI will continue to investigate individuals who disclose classified material to those who are not authorized to receive it.”
Albury, 39, worked as an FBI Special Agent in the Minneapolis field office at the time of the disclosures. At the time, Albury also worked as a liaison with Customs and Border Protection at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. In connection with his FBI employment, Albury held a Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance, and his daily duties provided him access to sensitive and classified FBI and other U.S. government information. According to court documents, beginning in 2016 and continuing through August 2017, Albury knowingly and willfully disclosed national defense information, classified at the Secret level, to a reporter. Albury employed methods to avoid detection, including printing documents that he created by cutting and pasting portions of an original document into a new document so as to avoid leaving a record of having printed the original, classified document. Albury also accessed documents on a classified computer and took pictures of the computer screen in order to photograph certain classified documents. Those additional classified documents were recovered on an electronic storage device found during a search of his home.
As set forth in the plea agreement, Albury was never authorized to retain the documents at issue at his residence or to transmit them to any person not entitled to receive them. Albury knew that he was not authorized to remove documents containing National Defense Information and classified information from secure locations, and further knew that he was not authorized to retain them at his residence or to transmit them to any person not authorized to receive them.
Albury pleaded guilty to one count of making an unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and one count of unlawful retention of national defense information. Albury faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison per count. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the assigned judge.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Danya E. Atiyeh of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorneys Patrick T. Murphy and David C. Recker of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.