Judge Calls Former NSA Employee’s Actions ‘As Close To Treasonous As You Can Get’

Jareh Sebastian Dalke, a 32-year-old former National Security Agency (NSA) employee, was sentenced to nearly 22 years in federal prison on Monday for attempting to sell classified information to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian official. U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore described Dalke’s actions as “as close to treasonous as you can get” during the sentencing hearing in Denver.

Dalke pleaded guilty to espionage charges last fall under a plea agreement with prosecutors. The defense requested a 14-year sentence arguing that the leaked information did not ultimately harm the United States. However, Judge Moore opted for a stiffer penalty of 262 months calling it an act of “mercy.”

Sworn testimony revealed that Dalke was motivated by 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.

Despite the defense highlighting Dalke’s complex psychological and emotional history including a traumatic brain injury, multiple suicide attempts, and childhood trauma, the judge was unmoved by those claims. Dalke expressed remorse in court stating he was “remorseful and ashamed” and acknowledged suffering from various mental health disorders.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek testified at the sentencing hearing, emphasizing the grave national security risks that Dalke exposed the country to through his actions.

As tensions continue to rise across the globe, the U.S. needs to keep a vigilant eye out for those within our ranks who would trade away secrets vital to U.S. national security for nothing more than personal financial gain.