WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former U.S. Army major and his anesthesiologist wife have been criminally charged for allegedly plotting to leak highly sensitive healthcare data about military patients to Russia, the Justice Department revealed.
Jamie Lee Henry, the former major who was also a doctor at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and his wife, Dr. Anna Gabrielian, were charged in an unsealed indictment in federal court in Maryland with conspiracy and wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information about patients at the Army base.
Although the indictment identifies Henry with the pronouns “he” and Henry used male pronouns during an initial court appearance on Thursday, in prior media interviews dating back to 2015, Henry came out as a transgender female.
Henry’s attorney David Little declined to comment on the charges, but said his client was released on home detention.
An attorney for Gabrielian could not immediately be reached for comment.
The indictment alleges that after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February, the pair sought to assist the Russian government by providing it with data to help the Putin regime “gain insights into the medical conditions of individuals associated with the U.S. government and military.”
The couple met with someone they believed was a Russian official but was in fact an FBI undercover agent, the indictment says.
At a hotel in Baltimore on Aug. 17, Gabrielian told the undercover agent “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,” the indictment says.
In the meeting, she volunteered to bring her husband into the scheme, saying Henry had information about military training the United States had provided to Ukraine, among other things.
At another meeting later that day, Henry told the undercover agent he too was committed to Russia, and said he had even contemplated volunteering to join the Russian army.
“The way I am viewing what is going on in Ukraine now, is that the United States is using Ukrainians as a proxy for their own hatred toward Russia,” Henry told the agent, according to prosecutors.
The agent in turn urged them to read a book called “Inside the Aquarium: The Making of a Top Soviet Spy,” telling the pair it would help them understand what they were about to do.
“It’s the mentality of sacrificing everything … and loyalty in you from day one,” the agent said. “That’s not something you walked away from.”
Henry had some reservations about providing healthcare data, saying it would violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), according to the indictment, but Gabrielian had no hesitations.
In a subsequent Aug. 24 meeting, she told the agent her husband was a “coward” to be concerned about violating HIPAA, but she broke the law “all the time” and would ensure they could provide Russia with access to medical records from Fort Bragg patients.
By the end of the month, she had handed over information on current and former military officials and their spouses, the indictment says.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Daniel Wallis