Former NSA Employee Arrested on Espionage-Related Charges

This case started and got wrapped up fast and his employment at NSA was only one month?

(DOJ) A Colorado Springs man will make his initial appearance in federal court today on charges that he attempted to transmit classified National Defense Information (NDI) to a representative of a foreign government.

Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 30, was an employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) where he served as an Information Systems Security Designer from June 6, 2022, to July 1, 2022.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, between August and September 2022, Dalke used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents he had obtained during his employment to an individual Dalke believed to be working for a foreign government. In actuality, that person was an undercover FBI agent.

Dalke subsequently arranged to transfer additional classified information in his possession to the undercover FBI agent at a location in Denver, Colorado.

The FBI arrested Dalke on Sept. 28, after Dalke arrived at the specified location.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Dalke began communicating on or about July 29, 2022, via encrypted email with an individual he believed to be associated with a foreign government.

Dalke told that individual 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.

Dalke represented to the undercover FBI agent that he was still employed by the U.S. government but said he was on a temporary assignment at a field location.

Dalke requested compensation via a specific type of cryptocurrency in exchange for the information he possessed and stated that he was in financial need.

To prove he had access to sensitive information, Dalke transmitted excerpts of three classified documents to the undercover FBI agent. Each excerpt contained classification markings. One excerpt was classified at the Secret level, and two excerpts were classified at the Top Secret level.

In return for this information, the FBI undercover agent provided the requested cryptocurrency to an address Dalke provided.

On or about Aug. 26, 2022, Dalke requested $85,000 in return for additional information in his possession.

Dalke also told the FBI undercover agent that he would share additional information in the future, once he returned to the Washington, D.C., area.

Although he was not employed by the NSA while communicating with the FBI, Dalke re-applied to the NSA in August 2022.

Dalke agreed to transmit additional information using a secure connection set up by the FBI at a public location in Denver. On Sept. 28, at that location, the FBI arrested Dalke based on a signed criminal complaint.

Dalke is charged by criminal complaint alleging three violations of the Espionage Act, which makes it a crime to transmit or attempt to transmit NDI to a representative of a foreign nation with intent or reason to believe that information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation. The Espionage Act carries a potential sentence of death or any term of years up to life.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan for the District of Colorado; Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division; Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI Washington Field Office and Acting Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Mimura of the FBI Denver Field Office made the announcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia K. Martinez and Jena R. Neuscheler for the District of Colorado, and Trial Attorneys Christina A. Clark and Adam L. Small of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting on behalf of the government. The case is being investigated by the FBI Denver Field Office and the FBI Washington Field Office.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


From the Affidavit

DALKE obtained his B.S. in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance from Western Governor’s University in 2019.
DALKE’s resume also reflects that he has a Master’s Degree from Norwich University where his studies included a research focus on cyber policy and technical vulnerability analysis and that he is pursuing his Doctorate at American Military University with a research focus on cyber affairs and advanced persistent threats.
DALKE’s resume claims he has elementary proficiency in Russian and Spanish.
DALKE also claims to have cyber-related certifications, including as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and a Certified Cyber Crime Investigator
DALKE was a member of the U.S. Army from approximately 2015 to 2018.
DALKE served as an E-3 Private First Class, Military Occupational Specialty 68W Health Care Specialist, and held a Secret security clearance, which he received in 2016.
On December 12, 2017, DALKE filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which was granted on March 29, 2018.
At that time, DALKE reported that he had approximately $32,809.52 in student loan debt and $50,987.34 in other non-secured debt, primarily credit card debt.
At the time of the bankruptcy filing, DALKE also reported that he had approximately $8,373.12 in total assets.
Beginning on June 6, 2022, DALKE became a civilian employee of the NSA, where he served from June 6, 2022 to July 1, 2022.
During this time, DALKE was an Information Systems Security Designer and was assigned to an NSA facility in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
As required for his assignment at the NSA, DALKE held a Top Secret security clearance, which took effect upon his entry on duty to the NSA in June 2022.
DALKE submitted his resignation to the NSA on June 28, 2022, and was debriefed from his TS//SCI clearance on July 1, 2022.
When DALKE left the NSA in July 2022, he told the NSA that he needed approximately 9 months off to address a situation with his family, after which he would like to return to employment with the NSA.
DALKE has served as a volunteer with the Colorado Rangers, a volunteer law enforcement reserve group, which supports law enforcement agencies throughout Colorado. DALKE’s resume lists his current role as a Lieutenant and Commander of the Digital Crimes Unit in the Colorado Rangers.
. . . DALKE expressed his belief that he was communicating with a representative of a foreign government, noting that he “recently learned that my heritage ties back to your country, which is part of why I have come to you as opposed to others.”
DALKE also stated that he was an employee of the U.S. government and that he put in for the position he was currently in because he had “questioned our role in damage to the world in the past and by mixture of curiosity for secrets and a desire to cause change.”
DALKE wanted to get paid in cryptocurrency.
DALKE also expressed his belief that “[t]his country it is not as great as it thinks it once was. It is all about the businesses and their money, not anything about the people or those that serve it to include the military.”


Threats are Out There