A Defense Intelligence Agency employee has been arrested for allegedly leaking classified information to two journalists, conduct the Justice Department called "dastardly" and "felonious" as that agency continues to pursue leaks of intelligence info, leaks it says risk national security.
The indictment alleges that DIA employee Henry Kyle Frese, 30, of Alexandria, Va., disclosed sensitive information--including "TOP SECRET information regarding a foreign country’s weapons systems"--for personal gain, the gain allegedly being that he had a romantic relationship with one of the journalists and was looking to help that journalist "progress" by also sharing info with a second journalist.
The story coming out of that leak was apparently published online or other electronic media, or at least was initially. Justice did not say who the journalists or outlets were, but it did say that within about a half hour of Frese's conversation with both journalists, one had published a story with top secret info.
“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 for National Security John C. Demers in announcing the arrest in just the latest of a half-dozen cases over the last two years where Justice has charged someone with leaking classified info, with no signs of a let-up. "[W]e will continue in our efforts to punish and deter this behavior," said Demers.
But Justice was not done slamming the leaker and nip any "folk hero" status in the bud. "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," said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Henry Kyle Frese was entrusted with TOP SECRET information related to the national defense of our country. 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."
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Frese comprising "two counts of willful transmission of national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it." He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, though Justice points out that actual sentences imposed by federal district court judges are typically less than the maximum.