Over the last several years, a number of individuals inside the government have been caught leaking sensitive information to journalists — and unfortunately, another one has just been identified and charged.
According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Henry Kyle Frese, 30, was arrested on Wednesday for providing classified material to journalists in 2018 and 2019.
Frese was an employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he is accused of accessing classified materials, some of which had no connection to his job duties, and revealing details about a foreign country’s weapons systems to a journalist who is not named in the charging documents.
If convicted, Frese could face up to 10 years in prison for each of the two counts with which he was charged.
The DOJ asserts that Frese was involved in a “romantic relationship” with the unnamed journalist, and that it lasted for “some or all” of the time in which he was alleged to have been breaking the law.
That claim is based on evidence gleaned from the pair’s social media accounts, as well as the fact that they “had the same residential address from August 2017 through August 2018.”
The journalist composed eight articles using five illegally obtained intelligence reports, with Frese actually re-tweeting a link to one of those published pieces.
Frese told his love interest via direct message on Twitter that he was also “down” to help another unnamed journalist in the same manner, claiming that he was interested in seeing her career “progress.”
“Serious harm” to national security
“Henry Kyle Frese was entrusted with TOP SECRET information related to the national defense of our country,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger stated.
Terwilliger continued: “Frese allegedly violated that trust, the oath he swore to uphold, and is charged with engaging in dastardly and felonious conduct at the expense of our country. This indictment should serve as a clear reminder to all of those similarly entrusted with National Defense Information that unilaterally disclosing such information for personal gain, or that of others, is not selfless or heroic, it is criminal.”
Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Counterintelligence Division, Alan E. Kohler, Jr., offered similarly strong words in condemnation of the conduct spelled out in the indictment. “Mr. Frese allegedly disclosed highly classified national defense information, which puts our country and people at risk,” he said.
“He violated his oath to serve and protect the United States,” Kohler added. “The men and women of the FBI work hard every day to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution — we will not stand by while trusted government employees violate that trust in such an egregious way.”