(Tribune News Service) — An Air Force veteran accused of repeatedly sharing classified information on U.S. aircraft and weapons “vulnerabilities” to multiple people was arrested in his Florida hometown last week, according to court records.

A federal grand jury has indicted retired Lt. Col. Paul J. Freeman, 68, of Niceville, Fla., of unauthorized possession and transmission of classified national defense information, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida announced in a June 27 news release.

Freeman “had reason to believe” the military information he possessed, without permission, and transmitted between November 2020 and March 2021 could be used to harm the U.S. or “to the advantage of any foreign nation,” a nine-count indictment says.

An attorney for Freeman wasn’t listed in court records the morning of June 28.

The U.S. Air Force aircraft and weapons information Freeman shared was provided to those who weren’t “authorized to access” the intelligence, prosecutors said.

He’s also accused of sharing classified “capabilities” of U.S. aircraft — and withholding information on weapon systems from “the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it,” according to the indictment.

Freeman was arrested June 27 in Niceville, which is a 10-mile drive northeast from Eglin Air Force Base and located along the Florida Panhandle.

The U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the FBI are leading the investigation, prosecutors said.

If convicted on all nine counts against him, Freeman could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison for each count, according to prosecutors.

A detention hearing has been set for Monday at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola.

©2024 The Charlotte Observer.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

(Mykal McEldowney, IndyStar/TNS)

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