By Cody Mello-Klein | [email protected]
Henry Frese, 30, a Defense Intelligence Agency employee from Alexandria, was arrested and charged on Oct. 9 for disclosing classified national defense information to two journalists, according to a Department of Justice news release.
Frese had government clearance for top secret and sensitive compartmented information and, according to court documents, allegedly used his clearance to access classified information about a foreign country’s weapons system.
Between April and May 2018, Frese accessed and leaked the classified information to a journalist, who Frese was in a relationship with and lived with at the time, according to Frese’s social media accounts.
A week after Frese leaked the intelligence report, the journalist asked whether Frese would be willing to talk with another journalist, according to the DOJ release. Frese agreed.
The prosecution alleges that in the same communication Frese and the first journalist talked about a story the journalist was working on. Several days later, Frese searched for information related to the leaked intelligence report on a government computer and, hours after his search, spoke with both journalists over the phone, according to court documents.
A half hour later, the first journalist published an article containing classified national defense information from the leaked intelligence report, according to the release.
Frese was also captured providing more classified national defense information to the second journalist via court-authorized surveillance on his cell phone on Sept. 24, 2019, according to the release.
A federal grand jury charged Frese with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it on Oct. 8. Frese could face a maximum 10-year sentence if convicted, although the release notes that actual sentences for federal crimes are often less than maximum penalties.