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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, October 09, 2019 3:10 pm

US official charged with leaking secrets to journalists

MICHAEL BALSAMO | Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON – A Defense Intelligence Agency official was arrested Wednesday and charged with leaking classified intelligence information to two journalists, including a reporter he was dating, the Justice Department said.

Henry Kyle Frese, 30, was arrested by the FBI Wednesday morning when he arrived at work at a DIA facility in Virginia. He was charged with willfully disclosing national defense information.

Frese, who has a top secret government security clearance, is alleged to have accessed at least five classified intelligence reports and provided top secret information about another country's weapons systems to the reporter with whom he was having a relationship.

Neither of the reporters was identified by name in court documents, and the Justice Department declined to provide any additional details about the classified information that was leaked.

The reporter published eight articles containing classified defense information between May and July 2018, prosecutors said.

In April 2018, after Frese accessed one of the intelligence reports, the reporter sent him a private message on Twitter asking if he would be willing to speak with another journalist, who worked at another outlet owned by the same company. Frese replied that he would help if it could help advance the first reporter's career because he wanted to see her "progress."

The government also intercepted a call in September during which Frese allegedly read classified national defense information to the second journalist, according to court documents.

"Frese betrayed the trust placed in him by the American people – a betrayal that risked harming the national security of this country," said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, who leads the Justice Department's national security division.

It was not immediately clear whether Frese had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.