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Ex-DIA analyst who leaked classified material to reporters sentenced to 30 months in prison

Henry Kyle Frese repeatedly leaked classified information according to the DOJ

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DOJ building in Washington DC in 2019
DOJ building in Washington DC in 2019
(Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Image)
Updated: June 18, 2020 - 11:00pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst who repeatedly divulged classified information to journalists was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in prison.

Henry Kyle Frese, a counterterrorism analyst from February 2018 to October 2019 before he was arrested, apologized to a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., for his conduct and said his motive for leaking was to advance relationships, including one with a reporter whom he was dating at the time.

“It was never for personal gain or out of anger. It was never for political reasons,” said Frese, who previously pleaded guilty to leaking national secrets to two journalists and a consultant. “At the time, I thought my reasons were important.

"Looking back, I’m embarrassed at how foolish and weak they were,” he said, according to The Washington Post.

A journalist, who shared Frese's address from January to November 2018, had eight stories published during spring and summer 2018 that included classified information pertaining to foreign nations' weapons systems, the Justice Department said 

"Between mid-2018 and late September 2019, Frese orally transmitted NDI classified at the Top Secret level to Journalist 1 on 12 separate occasions, and orally transmitted NDI classified at the Secret level to Journalist 1 on at least four occasions," the DOJ noted.

"Frese knew the information was classified at the Secret and Top Secret levels because the intelligence products from which he had learned the classified information had visible classification markings as to the classification level of the information, and the intelligence products accessed by Frese were stored on secure, classified government information systems," DOJ said.

Frese also communicated with another journalist and the DOJ noted that Frese carried out many searches on classified government systems for information about issues he had spoken with the two journalists about. 

"On at least 30 separate occasions in 2018, Frese conducted searches on classified government systems for information regarding the classified topics he discussed with Journalists 1 and 2. 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," the DOJ noted. 

"Additionally, between early 2018 and October 2019, Frese communicated with an employee of an overseas CT consulting group (Consultant 1) via social media. On at least two occasions, Frese transmitted classified NDI related to CT topics to Consultant 1, using a social media site’s direct messaging feature," DOJ said.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said Frese's behavior compromised national security.

“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," Demers said. "His conviction and sentence demonstrate the Department’s commitment to the investigation and prosecution of such betrayals by clearance holders as part of our mandate to protect our citizens and defend the national security of the United States.”

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