NSA cyber specialist, couple charged in spying cases: DoJ
Three people were charged with seeking to sell classified information to foreign governments in two separate cases.
A cyber specialist who worked at the US National Security Agency (NSA) and a couple were charged Thursday in separate cases with seeking to sell US secrets to foreign governments.
In the first case, cybersecurity expert Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 30, spent less than four weeks working at the NSA, the government's huge and powerful signals intelligence agency, before he suddenly quit, citing family problems at the end of June.
In the few weeks that he spent at the NSA, Dalke printed out top secret documents, and after leaving, he offered them for sale in encrypted online communications to what he thought was an agent of a foreign government. But he was actually dealing with an undercover FBI agent.
The foreign government was not identified by the US Justice Department. But an FBI affidavit filed in court pointed to Russia, claiming that Dalke was communicating via a dark web website created by the Russian international intelligence agency (SVR) to attract leakers.
Dalke, who the charges said had deep financial problems and had expressed unhappiness with American society, was provided two initial cryptocurrency payments worth more than $4,900 in exchange for evidence that he had top secret information. He asked for $85,000 for full documents, saying he had $237,000 in debts.
After he was paid another $11,422 worth of cryptocurrency, Dalke and the undercover FBI agent arranged for an electronic handover of documents in Denver, Colorado on Thursday.
Dalke was arrested at the handover location and has been charged with three violations of the Espionage Act. If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of death or life in prison.
In a second case announced Thursday, a doctor for the US Army, Major Jamie Lee Henry, and his wife, Anna Gabrielian, a Russian-speaking instructor of anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins University, were charged with offering to sell the health information of US military and government personnel to Russia.
According to the indictment, an undercover FBI agent contacted Gabrielian in August after she reached out to the Russian Embassy in Washington offering the couple's assistance.
In an August 17 meeting, Gabrielian told the agent that "she was motivated by patriotism toward Russia," the indictment said. Henry, meanwhile, told the agent that he "was committed to assisting Russia" and wanted to join the Russian army in Ukraine, adding that "the United States is using Ukrainians as a proxy for their own hatred toward Russia."
The two were charged with conspiracy and multiple counts of illegally disclosing private health information. Conspiracy charges can bring up to 20 years in prison.