Monday, February 11, 2008

US arrest four in Chinese spy probe

A former Boeing and Rockwell employee in the US has been arrested on espionage charges. The man is one of four people arrested early today accused of spying for China. The news will further sour relations between the two super powers which have been at loggerheads for years with regards state secrets.

At 7 a.m on Monday a weapons policy analyst was arrested and at the same time two others were taken into custody. At the Justice Department, Chuck Rosenberg said the employees had “betrayed the trust placed in them by the United States”. He said that the threat of foreign espionage still existed and that the aim was to steal America’s important secrets. “The end of the Cold War did not end that threat”, he said. He outlined how the threat had increased in recent years with a 46% increase in the demand for military information since 2006. He specifically identified China as being aggressive in their efforts to obtain state secrets and said the PRC’s espionage efforts were “reaching Cold War levels”.

One of those arrested was 55 year old Gregg Bergersen, an engineer who had liaised with Tai Shen Kuo, who had then passed the information on. Much of this information related to the passing of military sales information about Taiwan to the PRC. Another of those arrested was Yu Xin Kang, a 33 year old Chinese citizen who had lived lawfully in the US for sometime. She had helped pass the information onto the PRC after receiving it from Tai Shen Kuo . Another engineer working for Boeing and Rockwell was also arrested. He was named as Dong Fan Chung and is accused of stealing restricted technical data, including information relating to the Space Shuttle. He came to the attention of authorities after investigations, by both NASA and the FBI, into another spy, Chi Mak who was convicted last year [BBC]. Mr Chung who had connections with Chi Mak, had worked in the aerospace industry for 30 years. According to the Defence Department Mr Chung also passed on secrets relating to the Boeing C17 transport aircraft, the Delta 4 rocket and the B1 bomber. He had, according to the indictment, been passing information as far back as 1979 and had by the way of e-mails expressed a desire to “contribute to the motherland”. If convicted he could be sentenced to 100 years in prison [CNN / Sky News / BBC].

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