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NCIS agent had relationship with Syrian businessman, gave him classified info, feds say

A judge's gavel rests on a book of law. (Dreamstime/TNS)

A former special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had an inappropriate relationship with a Syrian businessman to whom she gave classified information while working in Dubai, according to the Department of Justice.

The 48-year-old agent, Leatrice Malika DeBruhl-Daniels, accepted gifts from the man, including an expensive birthday party for her thrown at his house, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. In turn, she’s accused of telling him that he was the target of an FBI counterterrorism investigation and warning him that if he went to the U.S. he would likely be arrested.

She also accepted $1,400 in cash from him, feds say, as well as a promise that he would get her son a job with his company.

After a six-day trial, a jury in Houston found DeBruhl-Daniels guilty on June 13 of four counts of obstruction, six counts of false statements, one count of false statement with terrorism enhancement and one count of bribery.

An attorney for DeBruhl-Daniels could not be found.

When she met the man — 49-year-old Nadal Diya — he was looking for help getting a visa to the United States while being investigated by the U.S. government, the release says.

Federal agents said they questioned DeBruhl-Daniels in December 2017 about Diya, but she failed to disclose her relationship with him.

After agents questioned DeBruhl-Daniels, she met with Diya and coached him on what to say in an interview.

In May 2018, DeBruhl-Daniels left Dubai to go to Hawaii for a new position that was offered to her. Bbut when she later learned that she would not get the job, she confessed to her superiors and investigators that she had had a relationship with Diya, accepted a party and gifts from him and revealed classified information to him, the release says.

Diya was charged in 2018 with fraud and misuse of visas and other documents after being accused of using fraudulent passports from Guatemala and Argentina to travel to the United States between 2014 and 2015, according to a criminal complaint.

He has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing, according to the Department of Justice.

According to the Department of Justice, DeBruhl-Daniels testified in her own defense and said the classified information she gave to Diya was public information at the time. She also said that she did not have a duty to reveal her personal relationship with Diya to federal agents or tell them about the information she gave to him.

She will be sentenced on Aug. 15, according to the release. She faces 20 years for each of the obstruction counts, five years for each of the false statement counts, eight years for the count of false statement with terrorism enhancement and two years for the bribery count.


© 2022 The Charlotte Observer

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