It had all the makings of a John Le Carre spy novel.
They met an Alexandria diner and during the course of the conspiracy, cultivated a friendship involving gifts, cash payments, dinners and trips to Las Vegas. In return, classified documents were exchanged between an Alexandria man and a Chinese businessmen reportedly working for the People’s Republic of China.
This week, 58-year-old Tai Shen Kuo of New Orleans learned how the long arm of the United States Govermment deals with spy in the post-9/11 era. Espionage is a real and serious threat to our national security,” said U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, who’s based in Alexandria. “Those who attempt to obtain classified information, such as Mr. Kuo, for illicit purposes will be caught, prosecuted, and severely punished.
On Tuesday, Kuo pleaded guilty in Alexandria Federal Court to a one-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government, namely, the Peoples Republic of China. He was arrested on Feb. 11 and now faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 8.
Todays guilty plea is the latest demonstration of the serious threat posed by international espionage networks, said Patrick Rowan, acting assistant attorney general for national security. The successful prosecution of Tai Shen Kuo and his co-conspirator William Bergersen should serve as a warning to others seeking to steal Americas military secrets for the benefit of foreign powers.
FBI Executive Assistant Director Arthur M. Cummings said that by providing classified information to a foreign government, Tai Shen Kuo “compromised our national security for his own profit. The FBI is committed to working with our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities to safeguard America’s sensitive secrets from those who would do us harm.
The criminal conduct spanned the time period of March 2007 to February 2008. During this time, Kuo, a naturalized U.S. citizen, obtained national defense information from Gregg W. Bergersen of Alexandria a Weapons Systems Policy Analyst at the Arlington-based Defense Security Cooperation Agency, an agency within the Department of Defense on several occasions.
The information pertained primarily to U.S. military sales to Taiwan and U.S. military communications security and was classified at the Secret level. During the course of the conspiracy, Kuo cultivated a friendship with Bergersen, bestowing on him gifts, cash payments, dinners, and trips to such places as Las Vegas. Kuo also led Bergersen to believe that he would make Bergersen a part owner or an employee of a company selling U.S. defense technology to Taiwan after Bergersens retirement from government service.
Unbeknownst to Bergersen, Kuo passed along to an official of the government of the PRC the documents and information Bergersen had provided him. The PRC official directed Kuo to collect specific documents and information and paid him approximately $50,000 for completing those tasks.
On March 31, Bergersen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it. Bergersen is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, and faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison.
Espionage charges are still pending against an alleged conspirator, Yu Xin Kang, of New Orleans, who remains held without bond.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI.