Published: Thu, October 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Defense Intelligence Agency employee over leaking to journalists

Defense Intelligence Agency employee over leaking to journalists

A counterterrorism analyst from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly leaking classified information to two journalists, according to the Justice Department (DOJ).

Information that 30-year-old Henry Kyle Frese had passed to a journalist, with whom he was apparently romantically involved, appeared in at least eight different news reports, the justice department alleged in an indictment unsealed in the United States district court for the eastern district of Virginia.

The FBI affidavit says "Journalist 1", who was sharing a residence with Frese, published eight articles from May to July 2018 that included information from five classified DIA intelligence reports.

Frese, who had top security clearance, is charged with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

"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 C. Demers.

In August 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech that the Trump administration would ramp up enforcement against leakers of classified materials. Court documents indicate they worked for different outlets, but a Justice Department official said Wednesday that the two outlets were affiliated.According to court documents, the reporter Frese was in a relationship with asked him to work with the second reporter.

While federal authorities did not reveal the identities of either reporter Frese leaked information to, a search of Frese's Twitter profile suggests the first journalist described in the indictment, with whom Frese allegedly had a romantic relationship.

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The Justice Department declined to provide any additional details about the classified information that was leaked, but the articles focused on China's missile systems.

"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.

"Frese provided information that could bring harm to his own country and benefit our adversaries", Alan Kohler Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office Counterintelligence Division, told reporters in a conference call. Frese said he would if it helped journalist one to "progress", the indictment said.

It was not immediately clear whether Frese had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

One of the cases involved Reality L. Winner, a former Air Force linguist who was an intelligence contractor for the National Security Agency when she gave the news media classified information about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"Our investigators and prosecutors nationwide will continue to devote themselves to media leak cases in order to protect our nation from the threat posed by the rare intelligence community official who breaks his or her oath", he said.

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