Attorney General William Barr has arguably been one of the best hires President Donald Trump has made since taking office nearly three years ago.
And he just proved that again this week when the Department of Justice and FBI coordinated to locate and track down a major “leaker” working for the government.
Henry Kyle Frese, who served as a counterterrorism analyst with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, was arrested on Wednesday over charges he leaked classified materials about a foreign country’s weapons system to two journalists in 2018 and 2019.
If indicted, Frese faces 20 years in prison.
The DOJ said in an indictment unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia that Frese leaked documents related to North Korea and China to CNBC’s Amanda Macias and another reporter.
Macias was his girlfriend, according to court documents and social media posts.
During the course of its investigation, the FBI learned that Frese was a follower on one of the reporter’s public Twitter feeds, and that Frese shared a residential address with the journalist from August 2017 through August 2018.
The reporter with whom he lived is referred to in court records as “Journalist 1.”
Public Twitter messages referenced in the court filings indicate that Journalist 1 is Amanda Macias, a national security reporter for CNBC.
The filings also reference public Twitter messages that indicate Journalist 2 is Courtney Kube, a national security correspondent for NBC.
Macias authored or co-authored with Kube a number of articles during the time frames cited in the court filings that reference U.S. intelligence reports and weapons systems of foreign nations such as China and Russia.
In the spring of 2018, the FBI alleges Journalist 1 called Frese on his cellphone. The next day, Frese started searching for an intelligence report involving topics unrelated to his work responsibilities.
Seven days later, the reporter sent him a direct message on Twitter asking if he would speak with “Journalist 2,” who was a more senior and seasoned reporter.
He replied he was “down” to help Journalist 2 because doing so would help Journalist 1 “progress” in her career.
Phone records show he communicated multiple times with both of them, including on the same day an article was published containing classified information from the intelligence reports, the FBI said.
Here’s the cherry on top that most are probably thinking: Yes, Frese expressed anti-Trump views on social media and loathed the president.
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
Barr and the DOJ have been very busy lately going after criminals.
Last month, the DOJ announced that it had arrested 281 email scammers across 10 countries and seized around $3.7 million. The massive operation was against scammers who have stolen millions of dollars through wire fraud and other forms of monetary theft.
Last week, a Democratic mayor from Massachusetts was arrested on charges that he conspired to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies seeking to operate marijuana businesses.
Federal authorities say Fall River Democratic Mayor Jasiel Correia accepted cash bribes in exchange for issuing official letters needed to obtain a license to set up a pot business.
The DOJ said at least four business owners paid a total of $600,000 in bribes to the mayor — and he used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and cover his own mounting legal bills.
The Trump administration has certainly been draining the swamp.