The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday, Oct. 9, that an employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was arrested for allegedly leaking classified information to journalists, one of whom he may have been involved with in a romantic relationship.
Henry Kyle Frese, 30, of Alexandria, is a DIA employee and holds a Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information U.S. government security clearance. He has been charged with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information.
“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. “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.”
The FBI had Frese under surveillance and their evidence includes direct messages on Twitter with two journalists, and a phone call.
“Leaks of classified information cause undeniable damage to our national security,” Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, told journalists about the arrest.
According to court documents, Frese collected classified intelligence files between mid-April and early May 2018, some of which were incidental to his job duties, and sent an unidentified journalist top secret information about the weapons systems of a foreign country using his cellphone.
Frese was reportedly in a relationship with one of the reporters he leaked to and was perhaps trying to advance that person’s career. The leaks occurred in 2018 and 2019 and authorities said Frese lived with the journalist in question from August 2017 to August 2018.
“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 faces a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.