FORT MEADE, MD — His financial stability rocked by furloughs, overtime cuts and stagnant promotions, NSA Senior Analyst Eric Delhugh was having trouble paying his bills. He considered himself a patriotic American but Delhugh was desperate.
He decided to sell secrets to a foreign government but was shocked to find no one was interested.
“I never imagined I would commit espionage against the United States,” Delhugh said, “but I was tired. It started with sequestration and then furloughs and then no budget. I just didn’t think it would ever end. It seemed like once a month we were preparing for another shut down.”
Sequestration pay cuts and the government shutdown pushed Delhugh to desperation.
Running out of funds, the beleaguered analyst began to drink and one night he drove to a pay phone and called the Russian Embassy. Delhugh explained the kind of intelligence he could give the Russians and how much money he wanted to be paid. He was not ready for the reaction he received.
“They laughed at me,” Delhugh says with a tear in his eye. “They said ‘We have Snowden. We have Wikileaks. Why should we pay you $20,000?’ I didn’t have an answer. I was humiliated.”
Delhugh became frantic, calling everyone he could find on the Internet that might be interested in buying his access. He called China, France, Ukraine, Moldova, Estonia, The Marshal Islands, Burma, Monaco, Luxemburg, Sweden, Togo, Malta, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and The Walt Disney Corporation.
“Every place was the same answer,” Delhugh reported. “They had enough intelligence from Wikileaks and press reports about Snowden to keep their agencies busy for years. They didn’t need anything I was selling. 19 years in the intelligence business and I get trumped by a transvestite with a thumb drive and a nerd with contacts at The Guardian.”
Eventually his forays into the world of espionage caught up with him. Drinking heavily and scared he would get arrested for drunk driving if he drove to a pay phone, he started calling foreign embassies from home. Two FBI agents appeared a week later.
“They were very nice,” the would-be spy reported. “They said I was the seventh or eighth person they had talked to about the same thing. They knew we couldn’t sell any secrets since everyone was giving them away for free but they asked me to stop calling the embassies. It was causing them too much work and with budget cuts they weren’t getting paid over time.”
When asked if the FBI has said anything else to him, Delhugh recalled, “Yeah, they told me to stay the hell away from Disney. They didn’t say why but they seemed scared.”
Delhugh is still with NSA and is working a second job at the Burger King in Laurel, MD. When asked what he gained from the experience, he said, “gained from all this? I don’t know, maybe five pounds from the French fries.”