- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Convicted spy Brian Patrick Regan was spared the death penalty yesterday by a U.S. District Court jury.
Regan was convicted last week of offering to sell intelligence to Iraq and China. The jury resumed deliberations yesterday and determined that he did not offer Iraq documents concerning nuclear weaponry, military satellites, war plans or other major U.S. weapons systems charges that could have brought the death penalty.
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were the last Americans put to death for spying. They were executed in 1953 for conspiring to steal U.S. atomic secrets for the Soviet Union.
Regan will be sentenced May 9 and could receive life imprisonment.
The 40-year-old married father of four from Bowie was arrested Aug. 23, 2001, at Washington Dulles International Airport while boarding a flight for Zurich.
He was carrying information with the coded coordinates of Iraqi and Chinese missile sites, the missiles that were stored there, and the date the information was obtained, prosecutors said. He also had the addresses of the Chinese and Iraqi embassies in Switzerland and Austria in his wallet and tucked into his right shoe.
Regan had worked at the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the government's spy satellites, first for the Air Force and then as a civilian employee for TRW, a defense contractor.
It was unusual for the case even to reach trial. The government, wary of disclosing classified material in public, normally agrees to plea bargains in espionage cases.
It also was surprising that the government sought the death penalty in a case in which prosecutors acknowledged sensitive material never was passed. In cases much more damaging to the government, the CIA's Aldrich Ames and the FBI's Robert P. Hanssen got life in prison.
During the two-week trial, government witnesses portrayed Regan as a man with almost $117,000 in credit-card debts who was willing to sell American secrets for $13 million.
Using his access to a classified Internet network, Regan looked up dozens of top-secret documents, including satellite photos of Iraqi missile sites, the prosecution said.
Defense attorneys said Regan might have fantasized about spying, but never copied anything of value and had no intention of selling secrets. Attorney Nina Ginsberg called his actions "childish," "unprofessional," "nonsense" and "harebrained."

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