US army doctor and wife charged with Russia spying
A US army major doctor and her wife, a civilian doctor, have been charged with a plot to leak information to the Russian government.
Jamie Lee Henry and Anna Gabrielian are accused of planning to share confidential information about patients at a military hospital.
The pair allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that they were motivated by patriotism for Russia.
Representatives of the couple have not yet commented on the case.
There has been no comment from Russian authorities, either.The pair were charged with conspiracy and the disclosure of identifiable health information, in an indictment filed in a court in Baltimore, Maryland which was unsealed on Thursday after their arrest.
Prosecutors said the couple wanted to help the Russian government "gain insights into the medical conditions of individuals associated with the US government and military".
The indictment states that Maj Henry, 39, planned to use her security clearance to gain access to private medical records from the hospital at Fort Bragg, the large military base where she worked.
Dr Gabrielian, 36, is accused of planning to share information from where she worked, believed to be Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.She allegedly offered help to the Russian embassy in Washington several months ago, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In mid-August she was approached by a person claiming to work for the Russian embassy, who was in reality an FBI agent.
During the meeting, the indictment says she told the agent that "she was motivated by patriotism toward Russia to provide any assistance she could to Russia, even if it meant being fired or going to jail".She is accused of offering to bring her wife into the plot, and telling the agent that she had access to medical information at the base and insight on how the US was training the military to provide assistance to Ukraine.
At another meeting later on the same day, Maj Henry allegedly told the agent that she was also committed to Russia, and considered volunteering to join the Russian army.She apparently said she had reservations about violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which is what the couple have been charged with.
But Dr Gabrielian allegedly had no such concerns, and handed over some information later in August.
The indictment suggests the couple planned to hand over the medical records in order to prove their willingness to help the Russians, and their level of access to secret information.Dr Gabrielian is also accused of telling the agent that her wife could share information about how the US military establishes army hospitals in war conditions, and previous training given by the US to the Ukrainian military.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of five years in prison for the conspiracy, and 10 years for each count of disclosing health information.Maj Henry was the first known active-duty US Army officer to come out as transgender
, after the army granted her permission to officially change her name and gender in 2015, the same year the couple were married.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-63079868