Former NSA Employee Sentenced To 22 Years In Prison For Attempted Espionage

Jareh Sebastian Dalke a 32-year-old former National Security Agency (NSA) employee was sentenced to nearly 22 years in federal prison on Monday in Denver for attempting to sell classified information to Russia. U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore handed down the 262-month sentence calling Dalke’s actions “blatant,” “brazen,” and “deliberate.”

Dalke engaged in what he believed was an exchange with a Russian official who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. Despite pleading guilty to espionage charges last fall under a plea agreement with prosecutors, the judge opted for a stiffer penalty than the 14-year sentence requested by the defense.

Sworn testimony revealed that Dalke was motivated to sell the material due to his personal debt of $237,000 and disillusionment with the federal government. He claimed he was seeking to “cause change” by providing classified information to Russian agents.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek testified at the sentencing hearing, stating, “He knew that the disclosure of those documents was expected to cause exceptionally grave danger to the national security of the United States.”

Dalke expressed remorse in court, acknowledging his struggles with PTSD, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, the judge noted that the defendant failed to provide any medical or expert evidence to support his claims of medical disability.

During a time with heated tensions across the globe, particularly in Eastern Europe with the war in Ukraine, there is a significant cause for concern when a member of the U.S. military is so disillusioned that they would put U.S. national security at risk in such a blatant way.