The Star Tribune reported that former agent Terry James Albury has been charged for allegedly leaking secret documents to a national news reporter. These charges were filed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department’s National Security Division as part of a crackdown on government leaks.
Albury has been accused of sharing a document on assessing informants and a document “relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country” with a reporter for a national media organization. A second count charge against the former agent claims that he failed to turn over a document “relating to the use of an online platform for recruitment by a specific terrorist group” last year.
Though the reporter and news organization are not named in the charges, the court documents state that Albury shared the information between February 2016 and Jan. 31, 2017, the same date that the Intercept published an entry to its “FBI’s Secret Rules” series on how the bureau assesses potential informants.
Albury’s attorneys JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel released a statement on Wednesday saying that their client will take responsibility for what he did. However, they also hinted that he had reason to leak the information.
“Terry Albury served the U.S. with distinction both here at home and abroad in Iraq,” the statement read. “He accepts full responsibility for the conduct set forth in the Information. We would like to add that as the only African-American FBI field agent in Minnesota, Mr. Albury’s actions were driven by a conscientious commitment to long-term national security and addressing the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI.”
This comes months after Sessions said that the DOJ had more than tripled the number of active leak investigations through the first half-year of Donald Trump’s administration. The attorney general ordered his national security division and U.S. attorney’s offices to prioritize leak cases and said that the FBI created a new unit to manage the volume of probes into unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information. In addition, he reviewed the department’s policy on issuing subpoenas to reporters.
“We will not allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country any longer,” Sessions said.
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