FBI Academy Photo

Archived: Former FBI Agent Turned Whistleblower Sentenced to Prison for Leaking Classified Documents

Former FBI Agent, Terry James Albury, 39, pleaded guilty in April to one count each of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and unauthorized retention of national defense information.

He admitted leaking classified internal documents to a reporter and was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison. Prosecutors said Albury betrayed public trust when he took more than 70 documents, including 50 that were classified. The information he, later, shared with an online news organization included a document classified as “secret” that explained the process which the FBI assessed confidential informants.

U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright, who is black, said Albury abused his security clearance and position as an FBI agent. She also continued saying that she knew of the injustices and that his intentions were honorable, albeit misguided.

“You did so knowingly. You did so willingly. You knew that what you did was a criminal act, and you knew that you were putting the nation’s security at risk,” the judge told Albury.He appeared to cry in court and took several moments to compose himself as he read a statement before he was sentenced.

Albury looked remorseful and emotional during the court proceedings.

“I truly wanted to make a difference and never intended to put anyone in danger,” Albury said, his voice wavering. He took responsibility for his actions and apologized to the people he hurt.

Albury’s defense attorneys had asked for probation, arguing he acted in a patriotic fashion and that he became morally conflicted by the FBI’s counterterrorism policies that he viewed as racial profiling.

Albury told the court that he wanted to be an FBI agent because he had a “sincere desire to serve, protect and make this world a better place.” Over time, he believed some of the FBI’s counterterrorism policies were a detriment to national security. Albury, who is black, also felt isolated and discriminated against as a minority in the FBI.

He was not taken into custody and will be allowed to self-report to authorities within 45-60 days to begin his four-year prison sentence.

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