WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tai Shen Kuo, age 58, and Yu Xin Kang, age 33, both of New Orleans , Louisiana, and Gregg William Bergersen, age 51, of Alexandria, Virginia, were arrested today on espionage charges related to the passage of classified U.S. government documents and information to the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Both Kuo and Kang were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to disclose national defense information to a foreign government, in violation of 18 U.S.C., Section 794(a) and (c). Bergersen was charged in a separate complaint with conspiracy to disclose national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it, in violation of 18 U.S.C., Section 793(d) and (g).
Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of the Eastern District of Virginia; and Arthur M. Cummings, II, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI's National Security Branch, made the announcement today. Bergersen and Kuo are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court in Alexandria today. Kang will make her initial appearance in federal court in New Orleans .
"Today's prosecution demonstrates that foreign spying remains a serious threat in the post-Cold War world. The conspiracy charged in this 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 his 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," said Assistant Attorney General Wainstein.
U.S. Attorney Rosenberg stated: "Those who compromise classified national security information betray the enormous responsibility and trust placed in them by our government and the American people."
According to court documents, the criminal conduct spanned a two-year period from January 2006 to February 2008 . Kuo, a naturalized U.S. citizen and New Orleans businessman, gathered national defense information on behalf of the government of the PRC.
Working under the direction of an individual identified in the complaint affidavit only as "PRC Official A," Kuo cultivated friendships with Bergersen and others within the U.S. government and obtained from them -- for ultimate passage to the PRC -- sensitive U.S. government information, including classified national defense information. Much of the information pertained to U.S. military sales to Taiwan .
Bergersen, a Weapons Systems Policy Analyst at the Arlington, Va.-based Defense Security Cooperation Agency, an agency within the Department of Defense, was charged with being the source of the classified information collected by Kuo. Kang, a citizen of the PRC and a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States , served as a conduit of information between PRC Official A and Kuo.
Meetings between Kuo and Bergersen took place at various locations in Northern Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina, and Las Vegas . On some occasions, Bergersen received undetermined cash payments from Kuo in exchange for information and documents he provided.
Kuo and Kang each face up to life in prison if convicted of conspiracy to disclose national defense information to a foreign government. Bergersen faces up to ten years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to disclose national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) provided substantial assistance and cooperation throughout the course of the investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil Hammerstrom and Aaron Zebley from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorney Ryan Fayhee from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department 's National Security Division.
Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice