Defense Intelligence Agency Employee Charged With Leaking Classified Information to Media

Cheryl Sanders
October 10, 2019

A Defense Intelligence Agency employee with top-secret security clearance was arrested Wednesday and charged with leaking classified information to two reporters.

If convicted of both counts of leaking, Frese could face a maximum of 10 years in prison. Those news stories relied on five separate intelligence reports issued between March and June 2018.

"Frese was caught red-handed disclosing sensitive national security information for personal gain", said John Demers, assistant attorney general of the National Security Division, in a news release. Frese allegedly said he was "down" to help the second reporter if it helped the first reporter "progress".

In August 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech that the Trump administration would ramp up enforcement against leakers of classified materials.

Prosecutors did not reveal the country or countries that the intelligence Frese is accused of leakingwas related to, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation said its revelation could harm the USA and benefit adversarial nations.

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.

The documents Frese allegedly leaked to two journalists pertained to top secret information on a foreign country's weapon systems, the Washington Post reported.

Further analysis by The Federalist indicates the second journalist described in the indictment is likely NBC's Courtney Kube.

Representatives for CNBC, NBC News and the Defense Intelligence Agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The next day, Frese started searching for an intelligence report involving topics unrelated to his work responsibilities.

Human rights lawyer and whistleblower Jesselyn Radack, on Twitter, said that Frese's indictment was more evidence of the Trump administration's "chilling message" to the intelligence community.

Neither of the reporters was identified by name in court documents, and the Justice Department declined to provide any additional details about the classified information that was leaked.

Prosecution against people accused of leaking classified information to the media have been more common in the United States in recent years, according to data from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Until the criminal case against victor, no one had been charged with leaking classified information since 2013, said John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, in a call with reporters on Wednesday to announce the charges against Frese.

Another similar case earlier this year involved former intelligence analyst Daniel Everette Hale, who was also charged in connection with leaking information to the Intercept related to a U.S. drone strike program.

Other reports by iNewsToday