Former FBI Agent Sentenced to Four Years for Leaks
MINNESOTA – October 19, 2018
A former FBI agent in Minnesota was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to leaking documents to the website the Intercept.
Terry James Albury was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in April to the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information as well as the unauthorized retention of national defense information.
“Prosecutors say he betrayed public trust when he stole more than 70 documents, including 50 that were classified. They asked for him to be sentenced to more than four years. Albury’s defense attorneys requested probation, saying he’s a patriot who was morally conflicted by the FBI’s counterterrorism policies,” reports the Washington Post.
On August 29, 2017, federal authorities raided Albury’s residence in Shakopee, Minnesota, where agents found “approximately 58 sensitive and classified US government documents involving multiple government agencies. These documents were recovered on a thumb drive that was wrapped up in an envelope with a reporter’s telephone number affixed to it.”
Albury leaked secret documents that were published by the Intercept in a January 2017 series called “The FBI’s Secret Rules.” He shared “secret level” national defense information with a reporter from 2016 to August 2017 using a variety of methods. Albury collected the documents by taking photos of computer screens and copying the contents of classified documents into unclassified documents that he would then print.
Albury worked in the FBI’s Minneapolis field office and had top secret security clearance, according to a Justice Department press release. He faces three years of supervision after his prison release, reports the NYT.
Albury is the second leaker that the Department of Justice has put behind bars since Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to pursue more leak investigations in August 2017.
He apologized to his former FBI colleagues and said that he “truly wanted to make a difference and never intended to put anyone in danger” at the sentencing, reported the New York Times.
Before the judge handed down four year prison sentence, former FBI agent Terry Albury made a final statement: “I sincerely wanted to make a difference and never meant to put anyone in danger.” He accepted full responsibility. @KSTP pic.twitter.com/oU3It3pHcX— Ryan Raiche (@ryanraiche) October 18, 2018
Albury was motivated in part because he was the only black field agent assigned to his counterterrorism squad and wanted to address “the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI,” his lawyers said in March. He expressed regret at his sentencing for not going through official channels to express his concerns, reports the NYT.
Albury’s case is the second Espionage Act case that the Justice Department has closed after the August sentencing of NSA leaker Reality Winner, who also gave documents to the Intercept.
“We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history… Today’s sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price,” Sessions said in a Thursday statement.
Read Albury’s plea agreement below: https://ru.scribd.com/document/391131950/Albury-plea-agreement#download&from_embed
Former intelligence analyst Reality Winner was arrested June 3, 2017 after the Intercept published a report containing classified information she gave them regarding a May 5, 2017 NSA document alleging Russian hacking of US voting software.
Winner was busted after the Intercept contacted the NSA and sent copies of the documents to the agency to confirm their veracity, which they were able to use to trace the documents back to Winner though an internal audit. The agency learned that Winner was one of six workers who had accessed the particular documents on its classified system, and that her computer had been in contact with the Intercept via a personal email account.
In response to Winner’s arrest, security experts and journalists alike have criticized the Intercept’s handling of the classified materials, which included publishing unredacted portions which included the printer tracking dots also used to identify Winner as the leaker.