Published: Thu, October 10, 2019

DOJ indicts intel employee for alleged leaks to journalists

DOJ indicts intel employee for alleged leaks to journalists

A counterterrorism analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency has been charged with leaking top-secret details about foreign countries' weapons systems to two journalists, including a reporter with whom he apparently was romantically involved, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Descriptions of tweets included in the court documents match those sent out by Macias and Kube past year.

Frese, who had top security clearance, is charged with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

"Frese was caught red-handed disclosing sensitive national security information for personal gain", John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, said when announcing the indictment. In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to take a stand against leaks, and the Justice Department has brought at least six leak investigation cases in the past two years.

Henry Kyle Frese, 30, was arrested on Wednesday over charges he leaked the information about a foreign country's weapons system to two journalists in 2018 and 2019.

Until the criminal case against victor, no one had been charged with leaking classified information since 2013, said John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, in a call with reporters on Wednesday to announce the charges against Frese. This was reported in the indictment, which was published by the US Department of Justice.

Mr Frese allegedly retweeted an article by this journalist that included information he had leaked to her.

According to court documents, Frese re-tweeted several stories written by Macias, including a report on "Putin's "unlimited range" nuclear-powered cruise missile" citing "U.S. intel reports".

Prosecution against people accused of leaking classified information to the media have been more common in the United States in recent years, according to data from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

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. He said Frese's behavior was "not selfless or heroic, it is criminal".

The FBI had Frese under surveillance and their evidence includes direct messages on Twitter with two journalists, and a phone call.

It was not immediately clear whether Frese had retained a lawyer.

The first case to emerge during the Trump administration's crackdown on leaking involved Reality Winner, a former intelligence analyst who divulged a report about Russian interference in the 2016 election to the Intercept news website. After her arrest in 2017, she pleaded guilty to federal charges and was sentenced to about five years in prison.

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