Justice Department files charges in espionage cases

The Justice Department announced a string of arrests today in two espionage cases involving the alleged passing of government and trade secrets to the Chinese government.

At a press conference announcing the charges, Kenneth Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security, said the two alleged conspiracies to seize military secrets revealed the “magnitude of the threat we face.”

He also referred to testimony by Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence, before the House Judiciary Committee last September. At the time, McConnell said China was “among the most aggressive in collecting against sensitive and protected U.S. systems, facilities and development projects, and their efforts are approaching Cold War levels.”

In one case, a naturalized U.S. citizen allegedly acquired classified, defense-related information from an American working for a Defense Department agency and passed it to a Chinese citizen who is a permanent resident of the United States, who passed it on to a Chinese government official.

Tai Shen Kuo, the naturalized U.S. citizen, who is accused of gathering the information, and Yu Xin Kang, who allegedly served as the go-between, are charged with conspiracy to disclose national defense information to a foreign government. If convicted, they could face life in prison.

Meanwhile, Gregg William Bergersen, a DOD weapons system analyst, is the alleged source of the documents and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to disclose national defense information to individuals not entitled to receive it.

In a separate case, Dongfan “Greg” Chung, a former employee for defense contractors, was arrested and charged with eight counts of economic espionage, one count of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, one count of acting as an unregistered foreign agent without prior notification to the attorney general, one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of making false statements to the FBI.

Chung, a naturalized U.S. citizen, allegedly obtained for the benefit of the Chinese government specific technological information, including data related to the space shuttle and various U.S. military and civilian aircraft. If convicted of all of the charges, Chung, 72, could spend the rest of his life in prison and face millions of dollars in fines.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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