A Johns Hopkins anesthesiologist and her spouse, a doctor and major in the U.S. Army, were federally indicted for attempting to provide medical information about members of the military to the Russian government.
Anna Gabrielian and Jamie Lee Henry, who had a secret security clearance as a doctor at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, communicated and met several times with an undercover FBI agent whom they believed was from the Russian embassy, offering sensitive medical information on military members and their families, the indictment alleges.
Gabrielian, 36, touted the Rockville couple’s access to the health records as “a useful long-term weapon.”
During an initial Aug. 17 meeting in a Baltimore hotel room, Gabrielian told the 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.”
Her spouse had access not just to medical information, she said, but insight into how the U.S. military establishes Army hospitals in war conditions and about training the military provided to Ukrainian military personnel. Henry participated in a second meeting later that night.
“My point of view is until the United States actually declares war against Russia, I’m able to help as much as I want,” Henry, 39, told the agent, according to the indictment. “At that point, I’ll have some ethical issues I’ll have to work through.”
“You’ll work through those ethical issues,” Gabrielian replied.
Henry also told the agent she had looked into volunteering to join the Russian Army after the conflict in Ukraine began.
In an Aug. 24 meeting with the agent at a Baltimore hotel room, Gabrielian called Henry a “coward” for being concerned about violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal law that limits the disclosure of patients’ confidential medical information. She told the person she did not share those concerns because she violated the law “all the time.”
Gabrielian did fear what might happen to the couple’s children if she put herself at risk of arrest, demanding that the kids be put on “a nice flight to Turkey to go on vacation” if arrest seemed imminent. “I don’t want to end in jail here with my kids being hostages over my head,” she said, according to the indictment.
Gabrielian is listed as an instructor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Hopkins, and her profile page says she speaks Russian. She was placed on leave Thursday said Kim Hoppe, the vice president of communications for Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“We were shocked to learn about this news this morning and intend to fully cooperate with investigators,” Hoppe said. She declined to say what Hopkins does to prevent employees with access to patients’ records from taking or sharing them as Gabrielian did.
Henry received attention in 2015 after becoming the first known active-duty Army officer to come out as transgender. A Buzzfeed article from that time said she was also, to her knowledge and to the knowledge of LGBTQ advocates, the first and only active-duty service member who had changed her name and gender within the United States military.
During an Aug. 31 meeting at a hotel in Gaithersburg, Gabrielian provided the agent with medical information related to the spouse of a person currently employed by the Office of Naval Intelligence and medical information related to someone only described as a veteran of the Air Force.
“Gabrielian highlighted to the [agent] a medical issue reflected in the records of [the military member’s spouse] that Russia could exploit,” the indictment says.
During the same meeting, Henry also provided medical information related to five patients at Fort Bragg, including a retired Army officer, a current Department of Defense employee, and spouses of active and deceased Army veterans.
Some clues about the couple’s mindset were revealed earlier last month when Gabrielian told the agent about a 1986 book she instructed Henry to read. It describes the recruitment and training of a Soviet-era Russian spy. “It’s the mentality of sacrificing everything ... and loyalty in you from day one,” she said, according to the indictment. “That’s not something you walked away from.”
The indictment was handed up Wednesday and unsealed Thursday. The pair are charged with conspiracy and wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information. They made their initial appearance in court and were released on home detention.
The couple lives in a small neighborhood of a few dozen townhomes tucked inside a larger community of grand two-story colonials and Mediterranean-style homes with sculpted landscapes and large garages.
Neighbors awoke to a pre-dawn raid of the couple’s home. At least 10 FBI agents and other law enforcement officers were there. They were seen entering the couple’s two-story townhome and searching cars parked out front.
Neighbors said the two live there with their young children and generally kept to themselves. Henry was seen less often due to a commute to North Carolina for work, neighbors told The Banner. Gabrielian’s mother, who lives in a nearby townhome, was more likely to be seen with the couple’s children.
Many other neighbors have connections to the former Soviet bloc. Russian-born neighbor Sergey Pinchuk said he would sometimes speak with Gabrielian about his ailing dog’s health in Russian.
Ryan Little and Jessica Calefati contributed to this report.