A former Minnesota FBI agent who admitted to leaking classified documents to The Intercept has been sentenced to four years in prison, making him the second Intercept whistleblower to be placed behind bars in eight weeks following the August 23 sentencing of former NSA intelligence specialist Reality Winner.
Terry James Albury was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in April to the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information as well as 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. –WaPo
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.”
The date and content of one of the leaked documents corresponded with a story featured on The Intercept.
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
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.