A former US army major and his wife, an anesthesiologist, have been criminally charged for allegedly plotting to leak highly sensitive healthcare data about military patients to Russia, the US Department of Justice said on Thursday.
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 a federal court in Maryland with conspiracy and the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information .
The indictment alleges that the plot started earlier this year, after the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
Prosecutors said the pair wanted to try to help the Russian government by providing them with data to help the Putin regime “gain insights into the medical conditions of individuals associated with the US government and military”.
The two met with someone whom they believed was a Russian official, but in fact was an FBI undercover agent, the indictment says.
At a hotel in Baltimore on August 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 he had information about prior military training the US provided to Ukraine, among other things.
At another meeting later that day, Henry told the agent he too was committed to Russia, and claimed 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,” he allegedly told the agent.
The agent 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.”
Apparently Henry had some reservations about providing healthcare data, saying it would violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the indictment says, but his wife had no hesitations.
In a 24 August meeting, she told the undercover agent her husband was a “coward” to be concerned about violating HIPAA but she violated the law “all the time” and would see to it 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.