US counter-terror analyst sentenced to 30 months for leaks

A former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst was sentenced to 30 months in prison for leaking classified information to journalists

A former counter-terrorism analyst at the US Defense Intelligence Agency was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Thursday for leaking classified information to journalists, including details about foreign countries' weapons systems.

Henry Kyle Frese, 31, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty in February to transmitting top secret defense information to two journalists, one of whom he lived with.

"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," Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement.

The Justice Department said Frese leaked information to two unnamed journalists in 2018 and 2019.

One news outlet, which was also not named, published eight articles containing classified information.

Frese searched restricted government computer systems at least 30 times in 2018 for information to pass on verbally to the two journalists, according to the Justice Department.

He also sent some secret information via private messages on social media.

The journalists involved appeared to work for CNBC and NBC News, according to US media.

CNBC, citing "sources with direct knowledge of US intelligence reports," reported in May 2018 that China had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on the contested Spratly Islands.

Frese, who was arrested in October, faced a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Frese was a contractor with DIA from January 2017 to February 2018, and then a full-fledged DIA employee, with clearance ranging up to the top secret level.

The DIA is the US military's intelligence service.