Defense official arrested for leaking information to journalists

The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced the arrest of a Defense Intelligence Agency official for allegedly leaking classified information to journalists, including one with whom he was apparently in a relationship.
 
Law enforcement officials arrested 30-year-old Henry Kyle Frese of Virginia as he arrived at work Tuesday morning and charged him with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
 
According to charging documents filed with a federal court in Virginia, the information that Frese allegedly leaked involved a foreign country's weapons system. The Justice Department would not identify the journalists, the outlets they worked for or the country that the leaked documents concerned.
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The filings detail the FBI's surveillance of Frese and how they captured phone calls and direct messages on Twitter between him and the two journalists, who apparently both covered national security.

One of the journalists apparently lived with and possibly dated Frese, according to the charging documents. That journalist allegedly referred Frese to the other journalist, who was the more senior of the two. Frese said in a message on Twitter that he was willing to talk to the more senior reporter if it helped the younger one "progress."

The more senior journalist allegedly published eight articles between May and July of 2018 containing classified information from intelligence reports that Frese accessed.

John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, said during a call with reporters Wednesday that the arrest was part of the agency's effort to step up its crackdown on government employees leaking classified information.

"Leaks of classified information cause undeniable damage to our national security," Demers said.

Demers, though, demurred when a reporter asked how the leak of information about another country damaged U.S. national security

Demers said Frese was the sixth person to be charged with leaking to the media or the public over the past two years.

Updated at 2:15 p.m.