Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A former FBI agent was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday for leaking classified documents to a reporter.
Terry Albury, 39, was sentenced for "knowingly and willfully" disclosing national defense information, classified at the Secret level, to a reporter, some of which was released in a series titled "FBI's Secret Rules" by the Intercept.
"Today's sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Albury pleaded guilty in April to one count of making an unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and one count of unlawful retention of national defense information.
During the sentencing U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright said she considered Albury's sterling record with the FBI and his "sincere" belief his actions would correct injustices. She said however, that even though there was no "identifiable victim" his actions compromised national security.
"We challenge unjust laws in places like this," Wright said. "We do not do so in the manner in which you did or thought you did."
Albury was also sentenced to three years of supervised release after serving his prison sentence.
His attorneys sought a lesser sentence arguing that being stripped of his role at the FBI, which he held for 16 years after college, was sufficient punishment.
Wright said while he would be required to serve the prison sentence, Wright could still make amends upon his release.
"It's too late to undo the damage from the decisions you made; it's not too late to move forward," she said.
He leaked the documents, which revealed how the FBI skirts its own rules for infiltrating political, religious and minority groups for surveillance.
Albury was the second federal employee to be arrested for leaking classified information during the Trump administration along with National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, who was sentenced in June to 63 months in prison for leaking information that was later reported on The Intercept news website.
"We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history," said Sessions. "Crimes like the one committed by the defendant in this case will not be tolerated-they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and punished."