A former Minnesota FBI agent was sentenced to prison on Thursday in Saint Paul’s U.S. District Court after leaking classified information.
39-year-old Terry James Albury left the courthouse as soon as he was handed down his four year sentence plus an additional three years of supervised release. He agreed to surrender to a date that will likely be determined within the next 45-60 days according to KTSP.
Albury pleads guilty in April to one count each of retention of national defense information and unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. He worked as a liaison with Border Protection at MSP International Airport and Department of Customs in 2016-2017 and as an FBI Special Agent in Minnesota within the same time period.
The defendant held a Top Secret Information security clearance because of his work with the FBI and had access to “sensitive and classified FBI and other U.S. government information” according to law officials.
The prosecution claimed Albury stole more than 50 classified documents and shared national defense information to a reporter from the online news outlet Intercept. One of the documents classified as “secret” included information on how to the FBI assesses confidential informants and a document “relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country.”
Albury told the court he leaked the documents because he felt the FBI policies were an act of racial profiling which he regarded as “suspicion” and “disrespect.” His attorneys said Albury acted out of “conscience” and was troubled by the racism within the bureau.
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright said Albury abused his position as an FBI agent and placed the United States in danger.
“You did so knowingly. You did so willingly,” Wright told Albury in court. “You knew that what you did was a criminal act, and you knew that you were putting the nation’s security at risk.”
She added, “I’m not blind to the racism in our society… I’m not blind to being a minority. … “But that’s not an excuse.”
Before Wright sentenced the 39-year-old to prison, he told the judge, “I sincerely wanted to make a difference a difference and never wanted to put anyone in danger.”
The defendant said he fully accepted “responsibility for what” he did and apologized to his “family and former colleagues.”
Albury’s legal team hoped he’d get probation because of his two young children and wife. However, Judge Wright said his sentencing reflects the seriousness of the offenses he committed and should hinder others from doing the same.
Special Agent Jill Sanborn who’s in charge of the Minneapolis Field Division released the following statement:
“Former Agent Albury’s conduct was an act of selfishness in an organization full of selfless people and today’s sentence will serve as an appropriate punishment for his criminal conduct. … He betrayed his colleagues and the trust the public puts in the men and women of the FBI to keep them and our communities safe.”
An FBI agent in Minnesota has been charged over leaking secret documents to The Intercept, reportedly related to threats made by individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country and the FBI’s use of informants.
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