Intelligence official arrested for leaking documents to journalists: Report

October 10, 2019

In the era of Get-Trump media, leakers in the intelligence community and journalists have never been so close. You might even call it a love affair.

The Justice Department arrested 30-year-old intelligence official Henry Kyle Frese for leaking secrets to journalists — including one with whom he was involved in a romantic relationship.

Frese, an employee at the Defense Intelligence Agency, was indicted Tuesday on two counts of willful transmission of national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it, according to CNBC. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Intelligence official arrested for leaks

Since President Donald Trump took office, government leaks have become such a pernicious problem that even former heads of the FBI and deputy heads of the FBI, have been caught doing it. Apparently, the example set by the likes of James Comey and Andrew McCabe has made an impression.

Frese, a counterintelligence analyst, used his top security clearance to leak classified files — some of which were not related to his work duties — to two journalists covering national security. Frese allegedly lived with and dated one of the journalists, who wrote at least eight articles based on secret information he leaked in the spring of 2018.

Some of those articles dealt with a foreign nation’s weapon systems. When the first journalist asked if Frese would be willing to leak to a second reporter, he said he would be “down” to do so if it helped his alleged paramour “progress.”

According to the authorities, Frese lived at the same address as the first reporter throughout the period of the leaks. They said that Frese’s social media posts made it clear that they were “involved in a romantic relationship for some or all of that period of time” he was living with the journalist starting in August 2017, and he even retweeted one of the articles that the reporter wrote with his leaked information.

“The unauthorized disclosure of TOP SECRET information could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave harm to the national security of the United States,” the Justice Department said in a press release announcing Frese’s indictment in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

Authorities tracked communications

The authorities did not identify which country, neither did they identify the journalists or the outlets for which they worked. But according to the Wall Street Journal, the journalists are CNBC’s Amanda Macias and NBC’s Courtney Kube.

According to authorities, they surveilled Frese sharing national security secrets with one of the reporters in a September 2019 phone call, and the information transmitted “could reasonably be expected to cause serious harm to the national security of the United States.”

“Frese was caught red-handed disclosing sensitive national security information for personal gain,” said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, who cited former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ mission to crack down on leakers.

The story echoes that of a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer who was sentenced to two months in prison last year for lying about his relationship with a New York Times reporter to whom he had leaked information. It’s unclear if the journalists in this case will be prosecuted.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.