A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency employee was arrested Wednesday on federal charges that he leaked classified national defense information to two journalists – one of whom he was romantically involved with.
Henry Kyle Frese, 30, is a counter-terrorism analyst who held a top-secret clearance at the DIA. He began working there as a contractor in January 2017 before moving to fulltime.
Between April and May 2018, Frese allegedly accessed classified intelligence reports – some of which were unrelated to his job duties – and leaked secret information regarding a foreign country’s weapons system to a reporter, according to court documents.
The documents accuse Frese of being romantically involved with one of the reporters to whom he is accused of leaking information.
A criminal indictment says that the reporter wrote at least eight articles from five compromised intelligence reports leaked by Frese. It says Frese re-tweeted a link to one of the articles that used the information he had allegedly provided.
The first reporter then asked Frese if he’d be willing to speak to another reporter, according to the criminal indictment. Frese allegedly said he was “down” to help the second reporter if it helped the first reporter “progress.”
The indictment also accuses Frese of orally transmitting classified NDI to the second reporter via his cell phone on Sept. 24, 2019. The disclosures reportedly contained information that “could reasonably be expected to cause serious harm to the national security of the United States.”
“As laid out in today’s indictment, Frese was caught red-handed disclosing sensitive national security information for personal gain,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. “Frese betrayed the trust placed in him by the American people—a betrayal that risked harming the national security of this country.”
Frese was charged Tuesday with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.
It was unclear whether either reporter will face charges.