A counterterrorism analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency was arrested as he arrived at work on Wednesday morning and is facing two federal charges for leaking classified information to two journalists, including one with whom he had a romantic relationship.
The arrest marks a continuation of the Justice Department’s aggressive crackdown on whistleblowers and leakers, which ramped up during the Obama administration and has continued under President Donald Trump.
Henry Kyle Frese, 30, faces two counts of willful transmission of national defense information. John Demers, the Justice Department’s national security chief, said in a statement that Frese was “caught red-handed.”
Frese has worked at the DIA as either a contractor or employee since January 2017, and reported to a DIA location in Reston. Federal authorities used a wiretap to obtain portions of Frese’s text messages and phone calls.
The indictment does not name the two journalists Frese allegedly communicated with, but both are identifiable based on the prosecutors’ description of the journalists’ tweets and news stories. The first news article referenced in the indictment was a 2018 story about China quietly installing anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on outposts in the South China Sea. That story was sourced to individuals with knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.
The indictment also referenced a 2019 news article co-authored by the two journalists about the Chinese military conducting anti-ship ballistic missile tests in the South China Sea. The latter report was sourced to U.S. officials with knowledge of the issue.
Neither journalist immediately responded to requests for comment.
Read the indictment below:
Read the affidavit in support of seizing Frese’s phone below: