US official charged with leaking secrets to journalists

A Defense Intelligence Agency official was arrested Wednesday and charged with leaking classified intelligence information to two journalists, the Justice Department said.

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Henry Kyle Frese was arrested by the FBI when he arrived at work at a DIA facility in Virginia. He was charged with willfully disclosing national defense information.

Frese is alleged to have accessed at least five classified intelligence reports and provided top secret information about another country’s weapons systems to the reporter with whom he was having a relationship.

Frese has a top secret government security clearance.

This image provided by the Alexandria Sheriff's Office shows Henry Kyle Frese. (Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP)

The arrest is the latest in a series of prosecutions under the Trump administration of government workers accused of providing nonpublic information to journalists.

In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to take a stand against leaks.

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Neither reporter was identified by name in court documents, but an analysis of news articles and social media posts indicates they are Amanda Macias of CNBC and Courtney Kube of NBC News. Those posts include a photo of Macias and Frese on Instagram from 2017.

The Justice Department declined to provide any additional details about the classified information that was leaked, but the articles focused on China’s missile systems.

“Frese betrayed the trust placed in him by the American people — a betrayal that risked harming the national security of this country,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, who leads the Justice Department’s national security division.

Although officials would not rule out the possibility of bringing criminal charges against the journalists, the top prosecutor whose office is prosecuting the case said investigators are “focused on the leaker, not the journalist.”

It was not immediately clear whether Frese had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf. A message left by the associated Press on Frese’s cellphone was not immediately returned. Frese was expected to make an initial appearance in federal court in Virginia on Thursday.

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Representatives for CNBC, NBC News and the Defense Intelligence Agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.