Defense Employee, Two Others Charged With Passing Secrets to China
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2008 A Defense Department employee was among three people arrested today for espionage after allegedly passing classified U.S. government documents and information to the People’s Republic of China, Justice Department officials announced.
Gregg William Bergersen, 51, a weapons system policy analyst at the Arlington, Va.-based Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is accused of being the source of the classified information. Much of the information related to U.S. military sales to Taiwan, Justice Department officials said.
Bergersen allegedly passed the information between January 2006 and this month to Tai Shen Kuo, 58, a naturalized U.S. citizen and New Orleans businessman who gathered national defense information on behalf of the Chinese government, officials said.
The two men met at various locations in Northern Virginia; Charleston, S.C.; and Las Vegas. On some occasions, Bergersen received cash payments from Kuo in exchange for the information and documents he provided, officials said.
Yu Xin Kang, 33, of New Orleans, allegedly served as the conduit between Kuo and an individual identified in the complaint affidavit only as “PRC Official A,” who provided direction. Kang is a People’s Republic of China citizen and lawful permanent U.S. resident.
Kuo and Kang face up to life in prison if convicted of conspiracy to disclose national defense information to a foreign government. Bergman is charged in a separate complaint and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to disclose national defense information to those not entitled to it, officials said.
The FBI conducted the investigation, with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations providing substantial assistance and cooperation, officials said.
“Today’s prosecution demonstrates that foreign spying remains a serious threat in the post-Cold War world,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth L. Wainstein in a Justice Department release. He noted that the case has all the elements of a classic espionage operation: “a foreign government focused on accessing our military secrets; foreign operatives who effectively use stealth and guile to gain that access; and an American government official who is willing to betray both is oath of public office and the duty of loyalty we rightly demand from every American citizen.”
“Such espionage networks pose a grave danger to our national security, and we should all thank the investigators and prosecutors on this case for effectively penetrating and dismantling this network before more sensitive information was compromised,” he said.
U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, of the Eastern District of Virginia, joined Wainstein in condemning the alleged activity. “Those who compromise classified national security information betray the enormous responsibility and trust placed in them by our government and the American people,” he said in the Justice Department release.
Today’s arrests came as a former Boeing Company engineer was arrested this morning on charges of passing to China stolen Boeing trade secrets related to several aerospace programs, including the C-17 military transport aircraft, Delta IV rocket and Space Shuttle.
Dongfan “Greg” Chung, 72, of Orange, Calif., was charged with economic espionage and acting as an unregistered foreign agent of the People’s Republic of China.
Chung was employed by Rockwell International from 1973 until its defense and space unit was acquired by Boeing in 1996. He retired in 2002, but returned as a contractor from 2003 to September 2006, officials said.
Wainstein said during a Justice Department news conference today that the cases demonstrate the very real threat that espionage has always presented.
“This threat is not new. Espionage has been a fact of life since the founding of the first nation-state, and it was particularly prominent during the Cold War of the last century,” he said.
“The threat is very simple. It's a threat to our national security and to our economic position in the world, a threat that is posed by the relentless efforts of foreign intelligence services to penetrate our security systems and steal our most sensitive military technology and information,” Wainstein said.