The feds busted a Defense Intelligence Agency worker Wednesday for leaking classified national defense information to two journalists in 2018 and 2019 — one of whom he was shacking up with.
Henry Kyle Frese, 30, a counterintelligence analyst from Alexandria, Virginia, who had a Top Secret security clearance, was indicted Tuesday on two counts of willful transmission of national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it.
“Frese was caught red-handed disclosing sensitive national security information for personal gain,” said John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, who cited ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vow to pursue leakers as the motivation for the probe.
“Frese betrayed the trust placed in him by the American people — a betrayal that risked harming the national security of this country. This is one of six unauthorized disclosure cases the Department has charged in just over two years, and we will continue in our efforts to punish and deter this behavior.”
According to court documents, between mid-April and early May 2018, Frese took classified intelligence reports, some of which were unrelated to his job duties, and using his cellphone, gave top secret information about a foreign country’s weapons systems to an unnamed journalist.
Frese and the journalist had the same residential address for a year starting in August 2017, and, based on Frese’s social media pages, “it appears that they were involved in a romantic relationship for some or all of that period of time,” the feds said in a statement.
The release of the unspecified secrets could be “expected to cause exceptionally grave harm to the national security of the United States,” they said, declining to elaborate.
The first journalist then asked Frese if he would be willing to help another journalist who was her colleague. The names of the journalists and the news organizations they worked for were not revealed.
“Frese stated that he was ‘down’ to help Journalist 2 if it helped Journalist 1 because he wanted to see Journalist 1 ‘progress,’” the statement said.
The first journalist would ask Frese for certain information for articles she was writing for an unnamed publication, and she published at least eight articles that were allegedly based on classified information.
The second journalist also published articles based on the information.
If convicted, Frese faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count.
The feds would not say during a conference call whether the two journalists would be prosecuted, or talk about specifics.