Former NSA Employee Arrested on Espionage-Related Charges
A Colorado Springs man will make his initial appearance in federal court today on charges that he attempted to transmit classified National Defense Information (NDI) to a representative of a foreign government.
Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 30, was an employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) where he served as an Information Systems Security Designer from June 6, 2022, to July 1, 2022. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, between August and September 2022, Dalke used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents he had obtained during his employment to an individual Dalke believed to be working for a foreign government. In actuality, that person was an undercover FBI agent. Dalke subsequently arranged to transfer additional classified information in his possession to the undercover FBI agent at a location in Denver, Colorado. The FBI arrested Dalke on Sept. 28, after Dalke arrived at the specified location.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Dalke began communicating on or about July 29, 2022, via encrypted email with an individual he believed to be associated with a foreign government. Dalke told that individual that he had taken highly sensitive information relating to foreign targeting of U.S. systems and information on U.S. cyber operations, among other topics. Dalke represented to the undercover FBI agent that he was still employed by the U.S. government but said he was on a temporary assignment at a field location. Dalke requested compensation via a specific type of cryptocurrency in exchange for the information he possessed and stated that he was in financial need.
To prove he had access to sensitive information, Dalke transmitted excerpts of three classified documents to the undercover FBI agent. Each excerpt contained classification markings. One excerpt was classified at the Secret level, and two excerpts were classified at the Top Secret level. In return for this information, the FBI undercover agent provided the requested cryptocurrency to an address Dalke provided.
On or about Aug. 26, 2022, Dalke requested $85,000 in return for additional information in his possession. Dalke also told the FBI undercover agent that he would share additional information in the future, once he returned to the Washington, D.C., area. Although he was not employed by the NSA while communicating with the FBI, Dalke re-applied to the NSA in August 2022.
Dalke agreed to transmit additional information using a secure connection set up by the FBI at a public location in Denver. On Sept. 28, at that location, the FBI arrested Dalke based on a signed criminal complaint.
Dalke is charged by criminal complaint alleging three violations of the Espionage Act, which makes it a crime to transmit or attempt to transmit NDI to a representative of a foreign nation with intent or reason to believe that information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation. The Espionage Act carries a potential sentence of death or any term of years up to life.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan for the District of Colorado; Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division; Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI Washington Field Office and Acting Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Mimura of the FBI Denver Field Office made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia K. Martinez and Jena R. Neuscheler for the District of Colorado, and Trial Attorneys Christina A. Clark and Adam L. Small of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting on behalf of the government. The case is being investigated by the FBI Denver Field Office and the FBI Washington Field Office.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.