Former FBI agent Terry Albury has been charged by federal prosecutors for allegedly leaking classified information to The Intercept -- an online news outlet. He is accused of “knowingly and willfully” providing national defense-related documents and information to a reporter. According to his attorneys, JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel, Albury has accepted “full responsibility” for the leak. He had worked on counterterrorism matters at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
According to his lawyers, Albury was “driven by a conscientious commitment to long-term national security and addressing the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI.” The documents Albury allegedly shared with The Intercept include information about FBI informants and data “relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country.” Albury was the only FBI field agent assigned to Minnesota.
Albury is the second person to be charged over secret documents that were leaked to The Intercept. Last year, intelligence contractor Reality Winner was accused of leaking a classified report to The Intercept. She has since pleaded not guilty.
After conducting an investigation, FBI investigators found that only 16 agents, including Albury, had accessed the documents over the previous 5 years. Also, they found that Albury had made 11 screenshots of the documents one month and 10 days before The Intercept made its FOIA request. “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.
Surveillance videos revealed that Albury used a digital camera to photograph secret documents that were on his computer monitor.
The leaked documents were published by The Intercept in a January 2017 article titled “The FBI’s Secret Rules.”
In a statement, the editor-in-chief of The Intercept, Betsy Reed, stated, “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.”
Reed’s statement went on to condemn the use of the Espionage Act “to prosecute whistleblowers seeking to shed light on matters of vital public concern.”