A former National Security Agency (NSA) employee accused of espionage after allegedly attempting to sell classified National Defense Information (NDI) to a representative of a foreign government must remain jailed while he’s prosecuted, a magistrate judge ruled on Oct. 11.
Jareh Sebastian Dalke, a 30-year-old Colorado Springs resident, was taken into custody based on a signed criminal complaint on Sept. 28 by an undercover FBI agent whom prosecutors say represented himself as a person working for Russia’s foreign service.
Dalke, who expressed financial need and was seeking compensation in cryptocurrency in exchange for NDI, has been charged with alleging three violations of the 1917 federal law, “Espionage Act,” which carries a potential term of up to life in prison or the death penalty.
The Army veteran pleaded not guilty to all charges on Oct. 11 during a hearing in Denver federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Kato Crews, who denied Dalke bail following pleas by public defenders arguing that the defendant should be with his family while the case proceeds.
Crews said on Tuesday the stiff penalty Dalke could face makes him a flight risk along with the sympathies he has allegedly expressed for Russia. The judge also said he was not sure that Dalke would honor any conditions he could impose that would allow him to live with his family while awaiting updates on the case.
One of Dalke’s federal public defenders, David Kraut, said Dalke supported the household with Veterans Administration benefits and had been “supportive” of his wife in difficulties in her life. He said Dalke would not want to put her at risk by not complying with bond conditions. However, assistant attorney Julia K. Martinez, said he already had by taking her with him when he went to scout out a public location to transmit the documents.
According to his arrest affidavit, Dalke served as an NSA Information Systems Security Designer for less than a month, from June 6, 2022, to July 1, 2022.
Between August and September, he used “an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents he had obtained during his employment” to an individual whom he believed was working for a foreign government, but he was actually an undercover FBI agent.
In late August, prosecutors say Dalke requested the undercover agent $85,000 in return for additional NDI allegedly in his possession. He also told the agent that he would provide more classified information in the future, despite him not being employed by the NSA while he was communicating with the agent. He then reapplied to work for the agency that same month.
The NDI that Dalke allegedly stole from the NSA—the U.S. intelligence agency that collects and analyzes signals from foreign and domestic sources for the purpose of intelligence and counterintelligence—targeted U.S. systems and information on U.S. cyber operations, among other topics, according to the affidavit.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Kraut downplayed Dalke’s access to classified NDI since he only worked at the NSA for less than a month this summer.
Martinez argued that the government does not know whether Dalke obtained more information from the NSA that is stored somewhere else or possibly memorized. She said he has the motivation to sell more secrets if he were to be released.
“He knows how to make money. Sell secrets to Russia,” said Martinez, who alleged Dalke took the job at the NSA with the intent of selling NDI.
Dalke allegedly told the undercover agent that he had $237,000 in debts and that he had decided to work with Russia because his heritage “ties back to your country.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From NTD News