How a NSA employee was fooled by FBI agent to sell top secret information. Failing the employer loyalty test

According to the Justice Department, a former National Security Agency employee appeared in federal court on Thursday on allegations that he sought to sell top-secret “national security material” to an FBI agent he thought was a Russian operative in return for $85,000.

According to the affidavit, Jareh Sebastian Dalke, a former employee, reportedly informed the undercover agent that he had access to knowledge “related to foreign targeting of U.S. networks and intelligence on cyber operations.” Although Dalke only worked at the NSA for about three weeks before leaving on July 1, the FBI claims that during that time he held a top-secret clearance in his position as a “information systems security designer.”

According to the affidavit, Dalke allegedly used an encrypted email account around August and September 2022 to “transmit extracts of three secret files he had collected during his job to a person Dalke believed to be working for a foreign adversary.”

Which government Dalke felt the agent was pretending to represent is not made clear in the affidavit. However, a footnote in the paper states that Dalke used “several published methods to elicit a response” in order to find out if the person he was chatting with was a Russian spy. According to the affidavit, this included “submission to the SVR TOR site.” Dalke, who lives in Colorado Springs, was detained in Denver on Wednesday after planning to provide the undercover FBI agent a fresh batch of confidential data. He reportedly demanded payment in a cryptocurrency. Dalke is facing three charges under the Espionage Act, which may result in a death sentence or a sentence of up to life in prison. Dalke’s legal counsel could not be found right away.