(CN) — A Johns Hopkins physician and her spouse, once celebrated as the U.S. Army’s first transgender soldier, have been charged with conspiracy for trying to give confidential military medical records to Russia.
Anna Gabrielian and Jamie Lee Henry were charged in an indictment unsealed Thursday in federal court in Maryland with conspiracy to violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which prohibits unauthorized transfer or disclosure of private medical records.
Henry, a major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps with a secret security clearance, came out as transgender in 2015 and was the first soldier known to have transitioned from male to female while serving, according to a 2015 article in Buzzfeed. She worked at Fort Bragg.
Until Thursday, Gabrielian was listed by Johns Hopkins as an Instructor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine with a proficiency in Russian. She earned her medical degree in 2012 at the University of Pittsburgh.
“We were shocked to learn about this news this morning and intend to fully cooperate with investigators,” a Hopkins spokesperson wrote in response to Courthouse News’s request for comment.
The FBI used an undercover agent to take the couple down, according to the indictment, by answering queries Gabrielian sent to the Russian embassy and posing as a representative of the Russian government.
The couple promised to obtain medical records from military personnel and their families held by both the U.S. Army and Hopkins, the indictment says. Gabrielian met the FBI agent on Aug. 17 at a Baltimore hotel, and told them she was motivated to help Russia, claiming her spouse, Henry had the most relevant information, “including how the U.S. military establishes an army hospital in war conditions, and about previous training the U.S. military provided to Ukrainian personnel.”
At a later meeting that same day, the indictment says, Henry told the FBI agent she was committed to helping Russia and had considered joining the Russian military. She later provided medical information concerning at least five people to the agent, including the spouse of a current naval intelligence officer and a current employee of the Department of Defense.
As portrayed by the government, the married couple sounded at times like Boris and Natasha from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon: “If you have a useful long term weapon, that can be used for years,” Gabrielian told the FBI agent. “If you use it for something that’s not tactically advantageous, you’ve lost it for nothing.”
“I don’t want to know your name,” Henry told the agent. “Because I want plausible deniability too. In a security clearance situation they want to know names of people and all this stuff.”
In a later meeting Gabrielian called Henry a “coward” for her concerns about ethics and HIPAA violations and stated that she violated HIPAA “all the time,” the indictment says.
The pair were worried about their children in the event they were caught, Gabrielian telling the FBI agent to put them on “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.”
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.