It’s hard to know who you can trust. However, if you’re romantically involved with a journalist, it’s a safe bet that you shouldn’t be talking about anything that is classified as a form of pillow talk.
Henry Kyle Frese was an analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency. However, he may have run out of things to talk about with his lover. He is being charged with leaking top-secret information regarding weapons systems of a foreign country to two journalists. One of them was romantically involved with Frese.
Frese is facing two counts of “willful transmission” of national defense information.
There are a lot of details about this case and none of it is looking good for the analyst. In April of 2018, he accessed the Defense Intelligence Agency computer systems. During this time, he accessed information that wasn’t related to his job regarding the weapon capabilities of an unidentified country. Then, according to the indictment, he provided this information to the reporters.
One of the reporters took this information and ran with it, publishing eight articles based on the leaks that Frese gave.
John Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security identified that Frese was caught red-handed. He disclosed sensitive information for personal gain.
While the names of the two journalists were not included in the indictment, Frese shared an address with one of the journalists for over a year. According to prosecutors, it appears that they were involved romantically.
Based on the details of the indictment, Frese was contacted via Twitter by one of the reporters in April 2018. The reporter asked if he would be willing to speak to another reporter. That’s when Frese said yes because he wanted to see her career progress.
Following the exchange, Frese searched a classified computer system in order to access an intelligence report focusing on weapons systems. Based on the indictment, a total of five reports were ultimately accessed. After Frese spoke with the reporters, it was shortly after that an article was published on the information provided. Frese even retweeted a link to the article.
The FBI has obtained warrants in order to tap the phones and monitor the contacts of Frese to find out more about the contact that he had with the two journalists.
As of last month, Frese had contact with them. On September 11 of this year, he accessed classified networks again, obtaining reports that were on a secret level. Two weeks later, the classified information was transmitted to the journalist on a phone call. The indictment even has quotes from the call to identify that he shared classified information.
While the indictment does not identify the names of the reporters, the Wall Street Journal identified one as Amanda Macias, a security reporter with CNBC as well as Courtney Kube, a reporter with NBC news. It is not clear as to which one was romantically involved with Frese. In May, Frese retweeted an article from Macias, which has since been referenced in the court filings.
The Trump administration has filed indictments on several government officials over allegedly leaking classified information to the media.
James Wolfe pleaded guilty in October 2018 for lying to the FBI about a romantic relationship with the national security reporter. Wolfe served as the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Two days following Wolfe’s plea, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a Treasury Department official, was arrested and charged with allegedly leaking financial information from Trump Associates.
In August of this year, John Fry, an IRS analyst, pleaded guilty to leaking Michael Cohen’s financial records.
There have been a lot of people choosing to leak classified information in order to achieve personal gain. It’s unfortunate that so many people are not taking their oaths as government employees seriously simply to try to take down a perceived threat.
There are proper avenues to address issues that they have. Had Frese come forward with the inquiries from the press, everything would have played out considerably differently. Instead, he chose to access information that he had no right accessing and slipping it to journalists on the down-low.
There are still a number of details that are not known about the Frese case, including what country’s weaponry systems were accessed and how this information becoming exposed to the public will play out.
G. Zachary Terwillinger, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia wants the indictment to serve as a reminder to anyone entrusted with National Defense information that the closing confidential information for personal gain is criminal. It is not heroic or selfless. It is criminal.