Ex-NSA worker from Colorado Springs thought he was helping Russia, indictment says

NSA Administration building
Patrick Semansky/AP
A sign stands at the National Security Administration campus in Fort Meade, Md., June 6, 2013.

By Colleen Slevin/AP

A former National Security Agency employee from Colorado charged with espionage thought he was sending classified information to Russia when he was talking to an undercover FBI agent, according to court documents released Friday.

Jareh Sebastian Dalke is accused of six counts of attempting to provide documents and information related to national defense to the Russian Federation, according to his indictment issued Thursday. Dalke, 30, of Colorado Springs was arrested last week.

The information he is accused of providing includes a threat assessment of the military offensive capabilities of a foreign country which is not named along with a description of sensitive U.S. defense capabilities, a portion of which relates to that same foreign country, the indictment said.

Dalke is being represented by lawyers from the federal public defender’s office, which does not comment publicly on its cases.

The Army veteran allegedly told the undercover agent that he had $237,000 in debts and that he had decided to work with Russia because his heritage “ties back to your country.”

Dalke was arrested Sept. 28 after authorities say he arrived at Denver's downtown train station with a laptop and used a secure connection set up by the undercover agent to transfer some classified documents. But first he sent a thank you letter in which he said he looked “forward to our friendship and shared benefit," according to the indictment.

Dalke worked for the NSA, the U.S. intelligence agency that collects and analyzes signals from foreign and domestic sources for the purpose of intelligence and counterintelligence, as an information systems security designer for less than a month this summer, according to court documents.

The indictment suggested he may have taken the job with an eye toward sharing classified information.

In an email with the undercover agent, Dalke allegedly said he had applied for the job 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.”