A Defense Intelligence Agency employee with top-secret security clearance was arrested Wednesday and charged with leaking classified information to two reporters.
Henry Kyle Frese, a counterterrorism analyst with the DIA, allegedly shared intelligence related to the capabilities of foreign weapons systems with the unnamed journalists, one of whom he was in a relationship with, according to court documents.
Frese is charged with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it. He was expected to appear in federal court in Virginia on Thursday. It was not immediately clear who was representing him.
Prosecutors did not reveal the country or countries that the intelligence Frese is accused of leaking was related to, but the FBI said its revelation could harm the US and benefit adversarial nations.
“The concern is not just the loss of that information, but how other countries could use that information. Put simply, it threatens American lives,” said Alan E. Kohler Jr., the special agent in charge of the counterintelligence division at the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
The case is one of six leak cases the Justice Department has charged in the past two years, after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the agency would take an aggressive tack in leak investigations.
Frese is accused of accessing five intelligence reports, some of which were unrelated to his field of work, and sharing content from them with the reporters in 2018 and 2019, who wrote several articles that included the information.
It’s not immediately clear which organizations the reporters worked for. 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.
As part of their investigation, the FBI monitored Frese’s text messages and phone calls, and at one point seized a Samsung smartphone he had been using.