- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A former FBI agent pleaded guilty Tuesday to leaking classified documents to a news outlet.

Terry J. Albury, 39, admitted to giving The Intercept a national defense document related to online recruitment by a “specific terrorist group,” the U.S. Department of Justice said.

He pleaded guilty to one count of making an unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and one count of unlawful retention of national defense information.

Albury could face a maximum of 10 years in prison for each count. However, no sentencing date was immediately set, pending a pre-sentence report.

Assigned to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Albury leaked the lead to a series on the FBI expanding its powers since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, prosecutors said. The series, “The FBI’s Secret Rules,” was published in January 2017.

According to court documents, Albury employed methods to avoid detection. Those methods included printing documents that he created by cutting and pasting portions of an original document into a new document to avoid leaving a record of printing the classified document.

He also took pictures of the computer screen in order to photograph classified documents, the Justice Department said.

“Terry Albury betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Tracey Doherty-McCormick for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Today’s guilty plea should serve as a reminder to those who are entrusted with classified information that the Justice Department will hold them accountable.”

Under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Justice has promised to go after more vigorously than in previous years those employees who leak national-security secrets.

“Albury admitted that his actions put America at risk,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.

Albury’s attorneys, JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel, played the race card and said their client believed “there was no viable alternative to remedy the abuses he sought to address.”

“It has long been a critique of the FBI that it consists of and reflects a predominantly white male culture, which, as a result, has often treated minority communities with suspicion and disrespect,” the lawyers said, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Danya E. Atiyeh of the Eastern District of Virginia and trial attorneys Patrick T. Murphy and David C. Recker of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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