A former military doctor, believed to have been the Army’s first trans woman, was indicted Thursday as federal prosecutors in Baltimore accused her of attempting to pass sensitive information to Russia to help in their invasion of Ukraine.
Dr. Jamie Lee Henry and her spouse, Dr. Anna Gabrielian, were accused of conspiracy and attempting to illegally disclose “Individually Identifiable Health Information” (IIHA), according to an indictment that was unsealed Thursday.
According to prosecutors, the couple met with an undercover FBI agent last month whom they thought was an official at the Russian Embassy in Washington.
“Gabrielian then told the [undercover agent] that she had previously reached out directly to the Russian Embassy by email and phone, offering Russia her and [Dr. Henry‘s] assistance,” according to the indictment.
Dr. Gabrielian, an anesthesiologist, told the undercover FBI agent the couple could pass along private patient information of military members based at Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the Army’s 18th Airborne Corps and the Special Forces. Delta Force, the Army’s lead anti-terrorist unit, also is based there.
Dr. Henry had been a physician at Fort Bragg during her time in the Army. The indictment identifies her as an Army officer but Maryland state medical records say she and Dr. Gabrielian are currently both on the staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
“We were shocked to learn about this news this morning and intend to fully cooperate with investigators,” Kim Hoppe, a hospital spokeswoman, told The Washington Times.
President Vladimir Putin’s decision to order an invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February 2022 was apparently the catalyst for the couple to reach out to Russian diplomats in Washington. The indictment doesn’t say how the U.S. government managed to intercept Dr. Gabrielian’s initial overture and insert the undercover FBI agent into the meeting.
On August 17, they agreed to meet at a Washington, D.C.-area hotel room. Dr. Gabrielian told the agent she was “motivated by patriotism toward Russia to provide any assistance she could,” even if it meant being fired from Johns Hopkins Hospital or going to jail. She told the agent that Dr. Henry was a more important source for Russia because she could pass along information about how the army sets up hospitals in wartime and about previous training given to Ukrainian troops.
Dr. Henry arrived later that evening and told the FBI agent that she was “committed to assisting Russia” and had looked into volunteering to join the Russian army following the invasion of Ukraine. But, she said Russian officials turned her down because she lacked “combat experience.”
“The United States is using Ukrainians as a proxy for their own hatred toward Russia,” Dr. Henry told the FBI agent, according to the indictment.
She believed it acceptable to help Moscow in its war aims until the United States formally declares war on Russia. If that happened, matters would become more complicated.
The suit alleges that Dr. Gabrielian told the FBI agent that she wanted an escape plan to Turkey set up for the couple’s children in case the operation went awry. “I don’t want to end up in jail here with my kids being hostages over my head,” she said.
Dr. Gabrielian met with the undercover agent a week later at a hotel in Baltimore. She said her spouse was a “coward” and leery about violating medical patient confidentiality by providing records to someone she believed was working for Russia. She had no such concerns, however, and admitted that she violated hospital patient regulations “all the time,” according to the indictment.
On August 31, 2022, the couple gave the undercover FBI agent confidential information on at least five people who had been hospital patients at Fort Bragg. They included a current Defense Department employee and a spouse of an Office of Naval Intelligence employee, the indictment said.
Dr. Henry’s journey as a transgender Army officer was publicized after a 2015 interview with BuzzFeed, where she identified herself as the first active duty service member who has changed her name and gender within the U.S. military.
“My commander said, ‘I don’t care who you love, I don’t care how you identify. I want you to be healthy and I want you to be able to do your job,’” she told the reporter in the interview. “I’m the same gender I’ve always been in my mind, but all this other stuff, on the outside, is really just conforming to how I already feel and have felt my entire life.”
The indictment did not list information about an attorney for the couple.