US Army major and wife charged over plot to aid Russia
Jamie Lee Henry and Anna Gabrielian, both doctors from Rockville, Maryland, were prepared to disclose confidential medical information of the US troops out of “patriotism” toward Russia, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Gabrielian, age 36, is an anaesthesiologist at John Hopkins. Henry, her spouse, is a 39-year-old US Army major with security clearance who worked at Fort Braggs and the Womack Army Medical Center.
The couple was arrested last week over allegations of conspiracy to provide confidential health information of at least seven Americans associated with the US government and military to Russia.
The grand jury indictment said that Gabrielian and Henry sought to help Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine. The couple offered access to and then delivered confidential health documents to someone they thought was from the Russian Embassy but was, in fact, an undercover FBI agent.
According to the indictment, Gabrielian confirmed upon first contact with the undercover agent that she reached out directly to the Russian Embassy a couple of months prior by email and phone to offer her and her spouse’s assistance.
She said that because of a secret-level security clearance, Henry had more helpful information, including how the US forces established an army hospital in war conditions and information about training the American military provided to the Ukrainian military personnel.
Devotion to Russia
In subsequent interactions that now involved Henry and Gabrelian, both conveyed their commitment to aid Russia. During a meeting on August 17, Henry told the agent about having thought of volunteering in the Russian forces after the invasion began but reconsidered as Russia needed people with “combat experience,” and the doctor did not have any, according to the indictment.
Henry allegedly said that the US used Ukrainians in its “proxy” war against Russia.
“My point of view is until the United States actually declares war against Russia, I’m able to help as much as I want. At that point, I’ll have some ethical issues I have to work through,” Henry said, according to the indictment.
Gabrielian reportedly replied: “You’ll work through these ethical issues.”
For her part, Gabrielian said she was motivated by patriotism toward Russia and did not care whether that meant she would be fired from her job or jailed. Despite that, the couple stressed the need to come up with “plausible deniability” if they get caught and suggested potential cover stories.
At the following meeting with the agent, on August 24, Gabrielian, now alone, allegedly said she had no concerns about violating medical privacy laws and did that “all the time,” while “coward” Henry was having doubts.
In a coded message the next day, however, Gabrielian is claimed to have texted the undercover agent that Henry would provide Army medical records, after all.
Facing years in prison
A week later, Gabrielian allegedly provided the agent with confidential medical information of two individuals, highlighting their health issues that Russia could exploit. Henry reputedly shared documents related to at least five individuals who were patients at Fort Bragg.
According to the DoJ, both face a maximum prison sentence of five years for the conspiracy and a maximum of 10 years on each count of disclosing confidential medical information.
Gabrielian and Henry had their first court appearance in Baltimore last week. The judge released them to their home in Rockville, which they share with their two children, but said they would be subject to 24/7 monitoring.
Henry is reportedly the first known active-duty Army officer to have come out as transgender in 2015. At that time, Henry identified as a woman. Male pronouns were used in the indictment, however. Following some confusion, a clarification from CNBC said that the charges were written in a way that reflected Henry’s recent use of pronouns.
Russia has a disastrous LGBTQ+ rights record. Just last week, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said that Western values on matters like gender identity amounted to a “denial of man” in his speech announcing the annexation of parts of Ukraine.
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