A married US Army doctor and an anaesthesiologist have been accused of conspiring to provide the Russian government with medical information about American soldiers and their relatives.
Major Jamie Lee Henry had a secret security clearance, while their spouse Anna Gabrielian is a Russian speaker who is affiliated with Johns Hopkins Hospital.
They are charged with offering sensitive information to an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a representative of the Russian Embassy.
According to the Justice Department, the FBI learned Gabrielian had volunteered assistance to Russia through its embassy in Washington.
It is alleged that Gabrielian met the undercover agent in a hotel room last month – and said “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”.
Gabrielian told the agent that she had reached out to the Russian Embassy by email and phone, offering Russia assistance from both her and her spouse Henry, the indictment says.
The indictment refers to Henry as male – but in 2015, they went public as the first openly transgender Army officer.
Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office in Baltimore, said Henry referred to himself as a male in interactions with the undercover FBI agent.
It is also alleged that Henry had looked into volunteering to join the Russian army after the conflict in Ukraine began, but Russia wanted people with combat experience and Henry did not have any.
“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 allegedly added.
Gabrielian did express concern about her children, demanding they have a “nice flight to Turkey to go on vacation because I don’t want to end in jail here with my kids being hostages over my head”.
On 31 August, the FBI agent met Gabrielian and Henry at a hotel in Maryland, near Washington DC.
Gabrielian gave the agent medical information about the spouse of a person employed by the Office of Naval Intelligence – and highlighted a medical issue that Russia could exploit, the indictment claims.
Henry allegedly provided information on at least five individuals who were patients at Fort Bragg, including a retired Army officer, a current Department of Defence employee, the spouse of a US Army veteran, and two spouses of deceased US Army veterans.
Court records say Gabrielian and Henry have been arrested – it was unclear whether they have lawyers.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for each count of disclosing health information.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins Medicine said: “We were shocked to learn about this news this morning and intend to fully cooperate with investigators.”