- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

From combined dispatches

A man who worked nearly three years at the White House, most recently on the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney, has been arrested on charges of spying, ABC News reported yesterday.

Officials said Leandro Aragoncillo, 46, a former U.S. Marine, used his top-secret clearances to steal documents from the vice president’s office, the network reported.

Mr. Aragoncillo, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Philippines, was arrested last month and accused of downloading more than 100 classified documents from FBI computers, ABC said.

ABC said the FBI caught Mr. Aragoncillo last year, after he left the Marines and began working for the FBI as an intelligence center at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

Officials told ABC that the classified material that Mr. Aragoncillo is accused of stealing included damaging dossiers on Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and described the espionage as part of an effort to bring down her government.

Deposed Philippine President Joseph Estrada admitted last month receiving information from Mr. Aragoncillo, ABC said. Mr. Estrada, who is under house arrest while facing corruption charges in the Philippines, said Mr. Aragoncillo had visited him in detention and had passed on documents about the Philippine political situation.

Mr. Aragoncillo worked on the staff of Vice President Al Gore in 2000, when he told a Philippine television interviewer that Filipino employees were valued at the White House.

“I think what they like most is our integrity and loyalty,” Mr. Aragoncillo said in that interview.

Yesterday, the White House confirmed that an investigation was under way, but referred questions to the FBI.

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