31 March 2008
A US defence department analyst has admitted giving classified
information about military communication systems to a businessman
working for China.
Gregg Bergersen, 51, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to
disclose national defence information "to persons not entitled to
Mr Bergersen faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on 20
Correspondents say his admission comes amid growing concern in
Washington about the activities of Chinese spies.
Four others were arrested in separate case last month for allegedly
passing secret details about the space shuttle and other US aerospace
programmes to China.
Air defence system
Mr Bergersen, a weapons systems policy analyst at the US Defence
Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA), was arrested last month with joint
Taiwanese-US national Tai Shen Kuo and Yu Xin Kang, a Chinese national
living in the US.
The FBI said Mr Bergersen had received thousands of dollars for passing
on classified information to Mr Kuo, a New Orleans-based furniture
salesman who has also been accused of turning over that information to
the Chinese government.
The US government said that Mr Bergesen thought Mr Kuo was closely
affiliated with Taiwan's ministry of defence and was unaware he was in
contact with Chinese officials.
Mr Bergesen's lawyer, Mark Cummings, said that there had been no
explicit exchange of money for information. For instance, Mr Bergesen
had won $3,000 from Mr Kuo in cash in a poker game in Las Vegas in April
2007, he said.
"In hindsight, he understands that the money was given to him in
anticipation that he would provide documents," Mr Cummings added.
Ms Kang ferried the information between Mr Kuo and Chinese officials,
the FBI alleged.
Mr Kuo, 58, and Mr Kang, 33, face a more serious charge of "conspiracy
to disclose national defence information to a foreign government". They
face up to life in prison if convicted.
The information passed on related to Taiwan's new Po Sheng air defence
system. Taiwanese officials said that some damage had been caused by the
disclosures, but that they had not compromised key technology.
The Chinese government has dismissed the espionage accusations as
groundless and accused the US of "Cold War thinking".
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