A Defense Intelligence Agency employee from Alexandria, Virginia, was arrested Wednesday after federal prosecutors say he leaked classified information to his journalist girlfriend and a second journalist.
Henry Kyle Frese, 30, was arrested when he showed up to work Wednesday morning. He worked as a counterterrorism analyst in Reston, court documents say.
The Department of Justice says that over the past two years, Frese accessed classified intelligence reports — some of which were unrelated to his duties — and gave a journalist information on "a foreign country's weapons systems."
"Henry Kyle Frese was entrusted with top secret information related to the national defense of our country,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "Frese allegedly violated that trust, the oath he swore to uphold, and is charged with engaging in dastardly and felonious conduct at the expense of our country."
Prosecutors did not name the journalists or their news outlets. Terwilliger was asked if the Justice Department was trying to send a message to journalists. He said, "No. The Justice Department is trying to send a message to leakers — that if you leak information and you betray your oath and you unilaterally provide information, you're gonna be prosecuted."
Frese allegedly searched a classified government computer system for terms in a report. He then spoke with his girlfriend. About half an hour later, a news article on the topic was published, with top secret information.
At one point, Frese's girlfriend asked if he would speak with another journalist. He agreed because he wanted to help advance his girlfriend's career, prosecutors say.
Investigators say they caught Frese through his use of government computer systems and his cellphone.
A federal grand jury indicted Frese on Tuesday. He was charged with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it. He faces as long as 20 years in prison if convicted.
Frese is expected in court Thursday.
Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.