A Colorado Springs resident is set to make his initial appearance in federal court today, following charges alleging his attempted transmission of classified National Defense Information (NDI) to a representative of a foreign government. The case, which has garnered significant attention, underscores the critical importance of safeguarding national security information and the complexities involved in combating espionage activities.
The Allegations Unveiled
According to an affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint, the accused individual, identified as the Colorado Springs resident, engaged in a series of communications between June 6, 2022, and July 1, 2022. During this period, the individual, later identified as Dalke, utilized an encrypted email account to disseminate excerpts of three classified documents to an individual he believed to be affiliated with a foreign government. However, unbeknownst to Dalke, the recipient was an undercover FBI agent.
Further investigation revealed that Dalke had expressed his possession of highly sensitive information pertaining to foreign targeting of U.S. systems and data on U.S. cyber operations, among other sensitive subjects. He purported to still be employed by the U.S. government but on a temporary assignment at a field location, subsequently requesting compensation in the form of a specific cryptocurrency in exchange for the sensitive information.
Unraveling the Exchange of Classified Information
In a bid to validate his access to sensitive information, Dalke transmitted excerpts of three classified documents, each marked with classification indicators. Notably, one of the excerpts was classified at the Secret level, while the remaining two were classified at the Top Secret level. In exchange for this information, the FBI undercover agent transferred the requested cryptocurrency to an address provided by Dalke.
The affidavit further revealed Dalke’s subsequent request for $85,000 in exchange for additional information within his possession. Despite not being employed by the NSA during the correspondence with the FBI, Dalke reapplied to the NSA in August 2022. In an orchestrated move by the FBI, Dalke agreed to transmit additional information through a secure connection set up by the authorities at a public location in Denver, leading to his subsequent arrest on September 28.
Legal Implications and Ongoing Investigation
Dalke faces charges under the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the transmission or attempted transmission of NDI to a representative of a foreign nation with the intent or belief that the information could be used to the detriment of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation. The potential repercussions for violations under the Espionage Act include a sentence of death or any term of years up to life.
The case has been met with swift action by key federal agencies, including the FBI’s Denver and Washington Field Offices, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys and Trial Attorneys from the Justice Department’s National Security Division leading the prosecution.
As the legal process unfolds, all defendants, including Dalke, are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The investigation continues to underscore the unwavering commitment of law enforcement agencies to uphold national security and preserve the integrity of classified information crucial to the nation’s defense.