A former National Security Agency employee has been charged with violating the Espionage Act and could face the death penalty.
The Department of Justice accused 30-year-old Jareh Dalke of transmitting classified national defense information to somebody he believed was representing a foreign government. Dalke, who worked at the agency for less than a month, asked to be paid in cryptocurrency in exchange for information on U.S. cyber operations and other topics.
Dalke transmitted excerpts of the information to the representative, who was actually an informant working for the FBI. The informant then deposited the cryptocurrency into Dalke's account.
"Each excerpt contained classification markings. One excerpt was classified at the Secret level, and two excerpts were classified at the Top Secret level," the Justice Department said in a press release announcing the charges.
Dalke then said he would provide the rest of the data for $85,000. Dalke arranged to send the information using a secure connection on September 28 and was taken into custody by the FBI.
Dalke was charged with three violations of the Espionage Act. If convicted, he could face the death penalty or a maximum sentence of life behind bars.