HOUSTON — An NCIS special agent faces a Houston trial after she allegedly had an affair with a terror suspect and warned him he was under investigation.
Leatrice De Bruhl-Daniels, 45, is charged with obstruction of justice.
De Bruhl, who had top secret security clearance, first met the Syrian national named Nadal Diya in 2016, while stationed in Dubai.
When Diya told De Bruhl he needed help renewing his tourist visa to the United States, she discovered he was being investigated by the FBI and HSI agents in Houston. Records show she contacted one of the agents, who confirmed Diya was suspected of illegally shipping goods from the U.S. to Iran, a federal crime.
Her relationship with Diya continued and eventually turned romantic, investigators say.
“My feelings are confusing me. I can’t stop thinking of [sic] about you. I have not slept in days ….,” she wrote in an email. “I’m deeply attracted to you and I can’t think about you like that. It’s not right.”
Diya wined and dined De Bruhl and even threw her a lavish birthday party in March 2017 that cost “tens of thousands” of dollars, according to court documents.
De Bruhl made other calls about Diya to the HSI agent in Houston and the FBI but never told them she was in a relationship with him, records show.
At one point, De Bruhl tried to convince and FBI agent in Dubai that Diya would make a good informant. She didn't mention he was under investigation.
In May 2017, De Bruhl was warned to keep her distance from Diya.
“Don’t worry I will still fight for your visa situation as much as I can I ultimately want the best for you and pray those investigators see you like I do,” De Bruhl told Diya in an email.
But the sexual relationship continued, according to court documents.
When investigators found out, they reassigned De Bruhl from Dubai to Hawaii, then yanked her security clearance.
During interviews with NCIS agents in Hawaii, De Bruhl allegedly admitted:
- Diya paid for her birthday party and several dinners
- They had at least one sexual encounter
- Diya gave her $1,400 for a vacation in Greece, which she said she later repaid in alcohol.
- De Bruhl’s son worked for Diya for two months and was paid approximately $3,000.
- De Bruhl believes she did inform Diya that he and another suspect were the subjects of an FBI counterterrorism investigation.
- De Bruhl warned Diya his phones were likely being monitored.
- She coached Diya for his interview with investigators
- She warned him he would be arrested if he came to the U.S.
- De Bruhl said her intention was to help investigators build a case against Diya but it got personal and she made some mistakes.
De Bruhl was arrested in September and will be tried in Houston.