- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Jury selection began in U.S. District Court in Alexandria yesterday for the trial of a former military man accused of espionage and eligible for the death penalty.
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Patrick Regan, 40, is being tried on three counts of attempted espionage and one count of illegally gathering national security information. It is America's first espionage trial in almost 50 years.
The first two espionage charges carry a possible death penalty. If imposed, it would be the first since Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in June 1953 for relaying nuclear bomb secrets to the Soviet Union.
If convicted but not sentenced to death, Mr. Regan, a Bowie father of four, would get life in prison without parole.
The indictment says Mr. Regan wrote letters to Iraqi agents, enclosing a sealed envelope for President Saddam Hussein, requesting $13 million in Swiss currency for information about secret U.S. satellites.
When arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport on Aug. 23, 2001, federal officials say he had European addresses for diplomats from Iraq, Iran, China and Libya in his shoes.
The FBI has stated that Mr. Regan carried a spiral notebook with codes describing images of missile launchers in Iraq and China, along with classified documents, notes and a global positioning device.
The indictment also refers to a code for the Iraqis which would open the secrets. If the Iraqis lost the code or couldn't make it work, Mr. Regan directed that a notice be listed in a Sunday Washington Post automobile advertisement signaling him to provide more code information.
Mr. Regan's trial takes on additional emphasis because the United States is threatening war against Iraq's president.
Yesterday, Mr. Regan appeared solemn. He was wearing a gray suit and vest, black tie and crewcut.
"Good morning. I'm Brian Regan," he said after Judge Gerald Bruce Lee directed him, U.S. attorneys and defense attorneys to rise and introduce themselves.
Judge Lee told more than 90 prospective jurors that the trial could begin Jan. 27 and conclude late in February. Selection of 12 jurors and four alternates is expected to be complete next week.
Judge Lee issued "show cause" warrants for nine persons who did not answer juror summonses. Eighteen-page questionnaires were distributed to prospective jurors. Judge Lee said they would be sealed and held confidential.
The questions include queries about jobs, family, military history, lawsuits, foreign countries, September 11 terrorist attacks and feelings about the death penalty.
"This case has nothing to do with the events of September 11, 2001," the questionnaire states in bold print, asking whether jurors knew anyone injured or killed in those attacks.
Mr. Regan was born in 1962 in Queens, N.Y. He was 18 when he enlisted in the Air Force, and was a master sergeant qualified and working in "top secret" and classified assignments when he retired in August 2000.
Defense attorneys have suggested Mr. Regan was having financial difficulties and that the letters he wrote were "the alleged rantings of a retired Air Force master sergeant prepared in what appears to be an effort to scam a foreign government out of $13 million."

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