Former defense analyst sentenced to 30 months in leak case

Former defense analyst sentenced to 30 months in leak case
© Camille Fine

Former Pentagon analyst Henry Kyle Frese has received more than two years in prison for sharing classified intelligence with two reporters and a consultant.

Frese, 32, who formerly worked as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) pleaded guilty in February to leaking national defense information regarding a foreign country’s weapons systems to two journalists in 2018 and 2019.

Frese, who was sentenced in federal court in Alexandria, Va., faced up to 10 years in prison.

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“Frese repeatedly passed classified information to a reporter, sometimes in response to her requests, all for personal gain,” John Demers, the top national security official at the Department of Justice, said in a Thursday statement.

“When this information was published, it was shared with all of our nation's adversaries, creating a risk of exceptionally grave harm to the security of this country," added Demers, who said Frese's sentencing demonstrated that leakers will be punished. 

Frese admitted to sharing information with a pair of journalists, who were not named in the court documents, but identified as Journalist 1 and Journalist 2. Their identities have since been revealed.

Court records say Frese was dating and sharing a home with Journalist 1. Reports indicate his girlfriend was Amanda Macias, a CNBC reporter.

Frese also appears to have left a paper trail, following Macias on Twitter and retweeting her when she shared published articles containing top secret national defense intelligence. 

Then, Journalist 1 introduced Frese to another reporter, who began speaking with him by phone. This journalist has been identified NBC News reporter Courtney Kube, who covers the Pentagon.

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According to prosecutors, Macias published eight articles that contained classified information related to foreign weapons systems, information that in part came from five different classified intelligence reports.

They also say Frese, on at least 30 separate occasions in 2018, used classified government systems to search for classified information which he then shared with the two reporters.

"On multiple occasions in 2018 and 2019, Frese conducted searches on classified government systems because of specific requests for information from Journalists 1 and 2," according to a DOJ press release.

Frese also communicated through social media with a person who working for an overseas consulting group, in which he shared at least twice classified information "using a social media site’s direct messaging feature," the release says.