- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2002

A retired Air Force master sergeant accused of attempting to sell U.S. secrets to at least three foreign governments will go on trial May 20 unless prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty.
U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in Alexandria yesterday gave prosecutors until April 22 to decide if the government intends to pursue a death penalty case against Sgt. Brian P. Regan, accused of attempting to spy for Iraq, Libya and China.
Sgt. Regan, 38, a government contractor at the supersecret National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), was arrested by the FBI and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage in exchange for a $13 million fee. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The government said Sgt. Regan, a Bowie resident, offered his services in letters to Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, saying he was "willing to commit espionage against the United States" by providing highly classified information. A four-count indictment described his spy offer as a "systematic and calculated plan to damage U.S. security."
Two of the four counts carry the death penalty.
According to the indictment, Sgt. Regan said in his letters that $13 million was "a small price to pay to have someone within the heart of U.S. intelligence agency providing you with vital secrets." It said he offered to provide Iraq with a sample of the intelligence materials he could provide for $1 million.
The government said Sgt. Regan had access to classified information at the NRO, which designs, builds and operates spy satellites, and that he "conspired to transmit classified U.S. national defense information to a person or persons he knew were working for a foreign government."
Prosecutors said Sgt. Regan began his espionage activities shortly after his retirement from the service in August 2000. An FBI affidavit said he was trained in cryptanalysis and his responsibilities included administering the Intelink Web site, a classified government computer system accessible only to certain members of the intelligence community.
The affidavit said Sgt. Regan was suspected of being the source of a number of classified documents, including secret electronic images, a CIA intelligence report and documents related to a foreign country's satellite capability. It said he accessed classified material after logging into Intelink and was seen looking at a secret document on his computer terminal while taking notes in a small notebook.
The NRO's satellites, provided to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Department, are designed to warn of potential trouble spots around the world, help plan military operations and monitor the environment. The NRO plays a primary role in achieving information superiority for the U.S. government and armed forces.
A Defense Department agency, the NRO is staffed by Defense and CIA personnel and is funded through the National Reconnaissance Program. The existence of the NRO was a secret until 1992.
Sgt. Regan joined the Air Force in August 1980 and was assigned in 1995 as an intelligence specialist at the Pentagon. After leaving the Air Force, he went to work as a consultant for defense contractor TRW Inc. and was again assigned to the NRO.


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