A former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) has been arrested for allegedly attempting to sell classified information to an individual he believed was a foreign spy, but was actually an undercover agent working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Jareh Sebastian Dalke, aged 30, was employed at the NSA for a temporary assignment in Washington D.C. for less than a month, from June 6 to July 1. Prior to his employment at the NSA, he was a member of the U.S. Army from about 2015 to 2018 and held a Secret security clearance, which he received in 2016. He also had a Top Secret security clearance during his time at the NSA.
As per an affidavit filed by the FBI, between August and September 2022, Dalke used an encrypted email account to send excerpts of three classified documents he had obtained during his employment to an individual he believed was working for a foreign government. The Justice Department (DoJ) has stated in a press release that Dalke's alleged actions have led to his arrest.
A former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) has been accused of attempting to sell classified information to an individual he believed was working for a foreign government. The alleged exchange included three classified documents, with the first classified at the Secret level and the other two at the Top Secret level. The suspect demanded a cryptocurrency payment in exchange for the information.
The FBI arranged a secure connection for the transfer of additional information, and the accused requested $85,000 in return. On September 28, the suspect was taken into custody by the FBI after arriving at an undisclosed location in Colorado.
The suspect, whose name has not been provided, was motivated by his "heritage ties" to the country he believed the individual represented, as well as his beliefs about the United States' role in causing damage to the world. The Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged the individual with three violations of the Espionage Act, which carries a potential sentence of death or life imprisonment if found guilty.
The DoJ has not released the name of the foreign government involved in the case, but the suspect claimed to have attempted to establish contact through a submission to the SVR TOR site, leading to speculation that it could be Russia. The ex-NSA employee's arrest occurred around the same time as the Russian government granted Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence contractor facing espionage charges.
In a related development, researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab disclosed security vulnerabilities in the CIA's websites used as a front for covert communications with its informants. These vulnerabilities allowed for the discovery and execution of dozens of assets in China and Iran. The network of 885 sites was active between 2004 and 2013 and was mapped by using the Iraniangoals[.]com website and publicly available material from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.