An analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency has been charged with leaking top secret information about a foreign country’s weapons systems to two journalists, including one he was romantically involved with, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday.
Henry Kyle Frese, 30, was charged with two counts of the willful transmission of national defense information.
Frese accessed Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) computer systems in April 2018 to obtain information unrelated to his job about an unidentified country’s weapons capabilities, and provided it to the reporters, according to the indictment.
One of the reporters published eight articles based on leaks that Frese provided from five classified DIA reports, prosecutors alleged, according to the Department of Justice.
“Frese was caught red-handed disclosing sensitive national security information for personal gain,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement.
The journalists are not identified in the indictment, but prosecutors said Frese shared an address with one of them for more than a year.
“It appears that they were involved in a romantic relationship for some or all of that period of time,” prosecutors said.
According to the indictment, one of the reporters contacted Frese through Twitter on April 27, 2018, asking if he would be willing to speak with another reporter. Frese said he would be willing to help the second reporter because he wanted to see her career “progress.” (RELATED: NSA Leaker Reality Winner Sentenced To More Than Five Years In Prison)
Several days after the exchange, Frese searched a classified government computer system for information in an intelligence report regarding the weapons systems, according to the indictment. An article based on the information was published shortly after Frese contacted the reporters. Frese retweeted a link to the article, the indictment says.
As part of the investigation, the FBI obtained warrants to tap Frese’s phones and monitored his contacts with the journalists.
Frese had contact with the journalists as recently as last month, according to the indictment. On Sept. 11, he again accessed classified DIA networks and obtained reports classified at the secret level.
On Sept. 24, Frese allegedly transmitted classified information to the journalist during a phone call. The indictment quotes from intercepts of the call.
During the call, the journalist asked Frese “what’s going on at work?”
Frese then disclosed information from two intelligence reports he accessed earlier in the day.
“I don’t know if anyone’s really commented on this but I saw a report, it’s a few days old at this point, um that basically [NDI from Intelligence Reports 2 and 3 that was classified at the SECRET level],” the indictment reads.
The Wall Street Journal identified the reporters as Amanda Macias, a national security reporter at CNBC, and Courtney Kube, a reporter at NBC News.
Frese retweeted an article that Macias published on May 2, 2018, that is referenced in court filings.
The Trump administration has indicted multiple government officials over alleged leaks to the media.
James Wolfe, the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, pleaded guilty on Oct. 15, 2018, for lying to the FBI about his contacts and romantic relationship with Ali Watkins, a national security reporter who has worked for BuzzFeed, Politico and The New York Times.
Two days after Wolfe’s guilty plea, Treasury Department official Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards was arrested and charge with allegedly leaking Trump associates’ financial information to BuzzFeed News.
On Aug. 15, IRS analyst John Fry pleaded guilty to charges related to leaking former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s financial records to Michael Avenatti, the embattled lawyer for Stormy Daniels.
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