From the Times story:
By the time Terry J. Albury arrived in Minneapolis in 2012, about 11 years after he went to work for the F.B.I., he had grown increasingly convinced that agents were abusing their powers and discriminating against racial and religious minorities as they hunted for potential terrorists.
The son of an Ethiopian political refugee, Mr. Albury was the only African-American field agent assigned to a counterterrorism squad that scrutinized Minnesota’s Somali-American community. There, according to his lawyer, he became disillusioned about “widespread racist and xenophobic sentiments” in the bureau and “discriminatory practices and policies he observed and implemented.”
In 2016, Mr. Albury began photographing secret documents that described F.B.I. powers to recruit potential informants and identify potential extremists. On Thursday, he was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty last year to unauthorized disclosures of national security secrets for sending several of the documents to The Intercept, which published the files with a series titled “The F.B.I.’s Secret Rules.”
2. Whether Albury’s perceptions of discrimination were accurate or not, they were not excuses for breaking the law.
3. He has been described as a whistleblower. A genuine whistleblower identifies himself or herself while bringing misconduct to the attention of authorities and the public. Albury was a spy, a betrayer and a coward.
4. At his sentencing, Albury said that he apologized to his former F.B.I. colleagues and said he had been “motivated to act by perceived injustices. “I truly wanted to make a difference and never intended to put anyone in danger,” he said. Bad acts are not justified by good motives, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, the ends do not justify the means, and two wrongs don’t make a right. Albury could have primed his ethical alarms with the oldest and hoariest ethics cliches imaginable.
5. Betsy Reed, the editor in chief of The Intercept, which was the recipient of Albury’s leaks, complained that it was getting easier for the government to hunt down journalists’ sources using surveillance and internal monitoring systems, and warned of a growing chill for investigative journalism. There should be a chill on that kind of “investigative journalism,” which abuses the First Amendment to facilitate, encourage, reward and sanctify illegal acts by professionals and officials violating oaths and laws.
6. Reed also said that “Like former N.S.A. contractor Reality Winner, who also faced prosecution under the Espionage Act, Terry Albury was a whistle-blower motivated by conscience who was targeted not because he harmed national security but because authorities found his disclosures inconvenient or embarrassing.”
7. Ah! So as long as illegally and unethically leaked or disclosed information is just “inconvenient or embarrassing” to one’s employer, agency or client, or if the leaker’s “motivations” are pure, the government’s reaction should be “Live and let live.” Do journalists really believe this anti-ethical nonsense?
8. They probably do. They probably do.