A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency worker was arrested on Wednesday on federal charges of leaking top-secret information to two reporters that work for NBC Universal, one of whom he was allegedly involved in a romantic relationship with.
Henry Kyle Frese “has been charged with two counts of willful transmission of national defense information, a felony charge that carries the possibility of a lengthy prison term,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The journalists aren’t named in the indictment, but they are identifiable as Amanda Macias, a reporter for CNBC, and Courtney Kube, a reporter for NBC. Public tweets cited in the court filings correspond to tweets sent by Ms. Macias and Ms. Kube in July.”
Journalist Matthew Keys reported that NBC suspended Macias as part of a “procedural” process, writing: “Source at NBC News with knowledge of matter says [Amanda Macias] has been suspended following arrest of former love interest and purported source Henry Frese, a defense intelligence analyst accused of leaking to her. Suspension ‘procedural,’ not disciplinary. The source who told me this works for NBC News but didn’t want to be identified otherwise because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Worth noting [Amanda Macias] is a CNBC journalist. CNBC and NBC News are affiliate orgs but have separate employees.”
The source who told me this works for NBC News but didn’t want to be identified otherwise because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Worth noting @amanda_m_macias is a CNBC journalist. CNBC and NBC News are affiliate orgs but have separate employees.
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) October 9, 2019
According to the indictment, “Search warrant returns from Twitter show that, seven days after FRESE accessed Intelligence Report 1 for the second time, Journalist 1 wrote a Twitter Direct Message (‘DM’) to FRESE in which she asked whether FRESE would be willing to speak with Journalist 2. FRESE stated that he was ‘down’ to help Journalist 2 if it helped Journalist 1 because he wanted to see Journalist 1 ‘progress.'”
Review of arrested leaker's social media shows, in addition to extreme anti-Trump views, confidence there'd be no repercussions for leaking. He freely and openly engages with recipient of stolen information. Our natsec culture of politicized leaking is worrisome.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) October 9, 2019
The indictment says that the material that was allegedly stolen and given to the NBC reporters was so sensitive that “its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”
“U.S. government agencies have confirmed that between at least early May 2018 and mid-July 2018, News Outlet 1 published eight articles that contain classified national defense information that relates to the capabilities of certain foreign countries’ weapons systems. Journalist 1 is the author of all of these articles,” the indictment reads.
“These articles contained classified intelligence from five intelligence reports (the ‘compromised intelligence reports’) dated on or about early March 2018 through mid-June 2018,” it continues. “The eight articles published by News Outlet 1, and the intelligence reporting from which they are derived, both contain information that is classified up to the TS//SCI level, indicating that its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security. The compromised intelligence reports are marked as such.”
News reports published by NBC News and CNBC did not disclose the fact that their employees were allegedly the journalists that were involved in publishing the highly sensitive information that put U.S. national security at risk.
Macias locked her Instagram account on Wednesday afternoon after photographs from the account started circulating on Twitter that appeared to show her posing in a friendly manner with the alleged leaker while the two drank champagne.