The rogue ex-FBI agent from the Minneapolis field office whose personal gripes with the system outweighed his concern for national security will have four years behind bars to reevaluate his “act of conscience.” Terry Albury leaked secret documents to a media outlet because of perceived mistreatment of minorities and racism at the agency.
But the judge laid down the law, according to the Star Tribune.
In arriving at his sentence, U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright said she considered Albury’s sterling record with the FBI, as well as his “sincere” belief that he was righting injustices. But, she said that even though there was no “identifiable victim,” she couldn’t ignore the fact that his actions had compromised national security.
“We challenge unjust laws in places like this,” she said, motioning around the courtroom. “We do not do so in the manner in which you did or thought you did.”
In previous coverage, the Star Tribune played up Albury’s prosecution as a potential threat to freedom of the press. But there was apparently no attempt to cast the ex-FBI agent as Deep Throat at today’s sentencing.
Albury admitted last spring to leaking the documents to an unnamed reporter. Though never identified outright in court filings, it’s widely believed that the information ended up it the hands of the national news outlet, the Intercept, which used them in its “FBI’s Secret Rules” series on how the Bureau assesses potential informants.
He pleaded guilty last spring to one count each of making an unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and unlawful retention of national defense information, as part of a plea agreement.
Essentially Albury felt empowered to take the law into his own hands. His sentencing reminds us that the law rules, especially for those sworn to uphold it. Now it’s time to apply that standard to the bigger leakers in the agency Albury disgraced, including former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.