The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a former FBI agent for allegedly leaking classified information to the media.
According to MPR News, Terry Albury, who began working for the FBI as an intern in 2000, has been accused of “knowingly and willfully” providing national defense-related documents and information to the online news outlets The Intercept and with failing to hand over documents to the federal government.
Albury, who worked on counterterrorism matters as a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport liaison, has accepted “full responsibility,” according to his attorneys JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel.
A statement released by Albury’s council stated their client was “driven by a conscientious commitment to long-term national security and addressing the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI.”
The documents reportedly include information on FBI informants and information “relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country.”
MPR News states that The Intercept, after receiving the documents from Albury, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in order to learn more about their contents.
The FBI discovered that only 16 agents, including Albury, had accessed the documents over the previous 5 years.
A search of Albury’s computer reportedly found the agent had taken 11 screenshots of the documents one month and 10 days before The Intercept’s FOIA request was made.
“To date, a review of FBI records has revealed no indication that any individual other than ALBURY both accessed this document and conducted cut and paste action,” the warrant said.
Video surveillance of Albury’s office also reportedly found that the agent used a digital camera on three occasions to photograph classified documents on his computer screen.
MPR News states that the documents were eventually published by The Intercept in January 2017 in a series entitled “The FBI’s Secret Rules.”
Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of The Intercept, released a statement Wednesday concerning the incident.
“We understand that there is an Espionage Act prosecution underway against an alleged FBI whistleblower in Minnesota, who is accused of leaking materials relating to the FBI’s use of confidential human sources,” Reed said. “News reports have suggested that the prosecution may be linked to stories published by The Intercept. We do not discuss anonymous sources.”
The statement also included condemnation of the federal government’s use of the Espionage Act “to prosecute whistleblowers seeking to shed light on matters of vital public concern.”
Albury is the second person to be charged with leaking secret documents to The Intercept.
U.S. intelligence contractor Reality Winner was accused last year of illegally leaking a classified report to The Intercept and has since pleaded not guilty.
The charges against both come in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision last year to crackdown on leakers.
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