The U.S. Justice Department released the below:
Sebastian Dalke, 31, of Colorado Springs, pleaded guilty today to six counts of
attempting to transmit classified National Defense Information (NDI) to an
agent of the Russian Federation (Russia).
According to court documents, from June 6, 2022, to July 1,
2022, Dalke was an employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) where he
served as an Information Systems Security Designer. Dalke admitted that between
August and September 2022, in order to demonstrate both his “legitimate access
and willingness to share,” he used an encrypted email account to transmit
excerpts of three classified documents to an individual he believed to be a
Russian agent. In actuality, that person was an FBI online covert employee. All
three documents from which the excerpts were taken contain NDI, are classified
as Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) and were obtained by
Dalke during his employment with the NSA.
On or about Aug. 26, 2022, Dalke requested $85,000 in return for
all the information in his possession. Dalke claimed the information would be
of value to Russia and told the FBI online covert employee that he would share
more information in the future, once he returned to the Washington, D.C., area.
Dalke subsequently arranged to transfer additional classified
information in his possession to the purported Russian agent at Union Station
in downtown Denver. Using a laptop computer and the instructions provided by
the FBI online covert employee, Dalke transferred five files, four of which
contain Top Secret NDI. The other file was a letter, which begins (in Russian
and Cyrillic characters) “My friends!” and states, in part, “I am very happy to
finally provide this information to you. . . . I look forward to our friendship
and shared benefit. Please let me know if there are desired documents to find
and I will try when I return to my main office.” The FBI arrested Dalke on
Sept. 28, moments after he transmitted the files.
As part of his plea agreement, Dalke admitted that he willfully
transmitted files to the FBI online covert employee with the intent and reason
to believe the information would be used to injure the United States and to
Dalke faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 26, 2024. A U.S. district court judge will
determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and
other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice
Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan for the
District of Colorado and Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the
FBI's National Security Branch made the announcement.
The FBI Washington and Denver Field Offices are investigating
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 the case.