Ex-NSA employee Jareh Dalke in Colorado arrested on espionage charges
A former National Security Agency employee in Colorado has been charged with violating the Espionage Act for allegedly trying to send classified national defense information to a foreign government.
Federal prosecutors don’t identify the government in question, though court records say the suspect — Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 30, of Colorado Springs — was trying to make contact with Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.
Dalke, who holds certification to work as a law enforcement officer in Colorado, was scheduled to appear Thursday afternoon in federal court in Denver, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.
Dalke worked for the NSA as an information systems security designer, from June 6 to July 1, 2022, according to the news release.
Between August and September, Dalke allegedly used an “encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents he had obtained during his employment” to someone he believed was working for a foreign government. The contact was in reality an undercover FBI agent.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Dalke said that he had reached out through “multiple published channels to gain a response,” including by submitting information to the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.
“Dalke subsequently arranged to transfer additional classified information in his possession to the undercover FBI agent at a location in Denver,” the release said.
He was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday when he arrived at the specified location.
On July 29, Dalke, by encrypted email, allegedly told the undercover agent 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,” the news release said.
Dalke allegedly requested compensation in cryptocurrency in exchange for the incriminating information he possessed, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Dalke allegedly transmitted excerpts of three classified documents to the undercover FBI agent. In exchange, the undercover agent provided the requested cryptocurrency.
On Aug. 26, Dalke requested $85,000 in return for additional information in his possession. Dalke had re-applied to work for the NSA in August 2022, the news release said.
Dalke was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Denver at 2 p.m. Thursday. He has been charged with three violations of the Espionage Act, which carries a potential death sentence and a possible life prison term.
According to the affidavit and state records, Dalke is a state-certified Colorado law enforcement officer who has served with the Colorado Rangers, a volunteer organization that provides reserve police officers to agencies statewide.
Staff writers Sam Tabachnik and Elise Schmelzer contributed to this report.
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