October 23, 2018

Former F.B.I. Agent Admits He Shared Classified Documents


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Terry J. Albury, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to disclosing national defense information, said he was trying to reveal the F.B.I.’s “suspicion and disrespect” toward minority communities. Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

A former counterterrorism agent at the F.B.I. who gave classified documents to the news media in an effort to reveal how the bureau treated minority communities pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the unauthorized disclosure and retention of national defense information.

It is the most recent prosecution in a growing series of leak cases being pursued by the Justice Department, which has significantly increased its focus on such investigations since President Trump took office. However, the actions of the agent, Terry J. Albury, largely predate Mr. Trump’s presidency.

As a field agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Minneapolis office, Mr. Albury provided a reporter with two documents between February 2016 and Jan. 31, 2017, according to the charges against him. The first document, dated Aug. 17, 2011, described how the bureau evaluated confidential sources; the second, which was undated, concerned “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country.” Mr. Albury also possessed, without authorization, “a document relating to the use of an online platform for recruitment by a specific terrorist group.”

“Mr. Albury was entrusted by the F.B.I. with a security clearance, which included a responsibility to protect classified national defense information,” Bill Priestap, assistant director of the bureau’s Counterintelligence Division, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Instead, he knowingly disclosed that material to someone not authorized to receive it.”

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Mr. Albury, 39, faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the two charges, but under his plea agreement, he could receive less than five years. Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota will decide his sentence.

In his plea, Mr. Albury acknowledged that the facts outlined by the government were accurate and that he had acted with the knowledge that he was breaking the law. His lawyers, JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel, said in a statement that he viewed his disclosures as “an act of conscience” in the face of racism at the F.B.I.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/us/politics/fbi-leaker-terry-albury.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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