Henry Kyle Frese (pictured) is accused by federal authorities of sharing top secret information from the DIA with two journalists
A counterterrorism analyst for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency pleaded guilty to leaking secret information about foreign nations’ weapons systems to two journalists, including one he was dating.
Henry Kyle Frese, 31, pleaded guilty to the ‘willful transmission of Top Secret national defense information’ in an Alexandria, Virginia, federal courtroom on Thursday.
If convicted, Frese will could face up to 10 years in prison when sentencing occurs June 18, 2020.
The former government official, who held top-secret clearance when employed, is accused of disclosing classified information to the journalists between February 2018 and October 2019.
While the Department of Justice does not reveal the identity of the journalists, separate reports have named Amanda Macias of CNBC and Courtney Kube of NBC News.
He also allegedly accessed pertinent reports unrelated to his job duties on several occasions, as well as retweeted Macias’ Twitter posts about published articles containing national defense information.
While the Department of Justice has not formally identified the two journalists, reports – including the Associated Press – have named NBC News reporter Courtney Kube (left) and CNBC reporter Amanda Macias (right)
Information Frese is said to have shared appeared in at least eight published articles authored or co-authored by Macias and Kube.
He was first arrested on October 9, 2019 after an FBI investigation took place.
‘Frese violated the trust placed in him by the American people when he disclosed sensitive national security information for personal gain,’ the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
‘He alerted our country’s adversaries to sensitive national defense information, putting the nation’s security at risk.
‘Mr. Frese violated his sworn oath to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States by using his access to the United States’ most sensitive information and steal state secrets for nothing more than personal gain.
If convicted, Frese (pictured) could face a maximum of 10 years in prison after he was arrested on October 9, 2019, by federal agents
‘By disseminating the same classified information he had pledged to protect, Henry Kyle Frese put the US and our national defense equities in danger.’
The statement additionally said Frese’s actions were not valiant, but illegal and corrupt.
‘This case should serve as a clear reminder to all of those similarly entrusted with National Defense Information that unilaterally disclosing such information for personal gain, or that of others, is not selfless or heroic, it is criminal,’ the agency said.
According to the Department of Justice, Frese was first employed by the DIA in February 2018 and reportedly shared data from five intelligence reports from the Compromised Intelligence Reports.
Authorities say Frese (left) and Macias (right) lived together at the same residential address from January 2018 to November 2018
Notably, the information in these reports were ‘outside the scope’ of Frese’s job perimeters.
Around the same time, Frese and Macias lived together at the same residential address from January 2018 to November 2018.
Authorities say that based on their social media accounts, they appeared to have been romantically involved for some or all of that period of time.
Frese and Macias followed each other on Twitter from 2018 to 2019, and on at least two occasions he retweeted articles that contained classified information.
The statement says Frese revealed top secret and secret information to Macias at least 12 times.
When the first journalist tweeted a link to her story, Frese later re-tweeted the article, according to the court documents
Authorities say Frese revealed top secret and secret information to Macias at least 12 times throughout his career with the DIA
Documents say that Frese accessed an intelligence report several times between mid-April and May 2018.
One week after he accessed the report for a second time, authorities say he received a Twitter DM from Macias asking if he would be willing to speak with a second journalist, Kube.
He said he was ‘down’ to help Kube if doing so would help Macias ‘progress.’
During the same Twitter exchange, Macias reportedly said a U.S. military official told Kube that they were unaware of the information found in the intelligence report
This prompted Frese to say the military officials response was ‘weird’ and he further commented in information inside the report.
Several days after the Twitter messages, Frese spoke with both Kube and Macias on the phone.
30 minutes after speaking with the two journalists, Macias published an article that contained secret intelligence information.
Neither reporter has been accused of any wrongdoing and do not face any legal repercussions.
During at least 30 separate instances, authorities say Frese conducted searches on classified information that was discussed with the journalists.
The Department of Justice said: ‘On multiple occasions in 2018 and 2019, Frese conducted searches on classified government systems because of specific requests for information from [Macias and Kube].’
Additionally, Frese transmitted classified information to an employee at an overseas consulting group through social media.