JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska-based military policeman will serve 16 years in prison and will be dishonorably discharged for selling secrets to an FBI undercover agent who he believed was a Russian spy, a panel of eight military members decided Monday.
Spec. William Colton Millay of Owensboro, Ky., pleaded guilty last month to attempted espionage and other counts.
Military prosecutors painted him as a white supremacist who was fed up with the Army and the United States, and was willing to sell secrets to an enemy agent, even if that would cost fellow soldiers their lives.
Defense attorneys said Millay was emotionally stunted, was only seeking attention and was a candidate for rehabilitation.
Monday's proceedings were like a mini-trial conducted in front of the sentencing panel, with both sides calling two witnesses.
FBI Special Agent Derrick Chriswell said Millay came to their attention in the summer of 2011 through an anonymous tip after Millay sent an email to a Russian publication seeking information about the military and made several calls to the Russian embassy.
"That's a concern for national security," Chriswell said.
The FBI, working with military intelligence agencies, conducted the investigation. On Sept. 13, 2011, an FBI undercover agent called Millay and set up a meeting the next day at an Anchorage hotel-restaurant.
Chriswell testified that during the first meeting with the agent, Millay "expressed his disgust with the U.S. military." They then moved to the agent's hotel room, where audio and video recording devices were in place.
Millay, 24, said he'd work for the Russian government, and if they made it worth his while, he'd re-enlist for a second five-year stint. He also said he had confidential information on the Warlock Duke jamming system the U.S. military uses to sweep roadside bombs.
Two days after that meeting, Millay reported to his commander that he had been contacted by a Russian agent. He was later interrogated by military intelligence officers and the FBI, but prosecutors say Millay was merely trying to throw off suspicion.
Chriswell said Millay, during the interrogation, withheld information that officials already knew from the recordings. That included a claim that he didn't know why a Russian agent would contact him, his claim to the agent that he had access to Social Security numbers of people on base because of his police job and that he had sent her an earlier text claiming he had more information on the jamming system.
Later, after he came off a monthlong leave, he told the agent he was willing to sell information using a confidential drop at a park.
On Oct. 21, 2011, he dropped off a white envelope with information about the F-22s and the jamming system in a garbage can. That envelope was later collected by the FBI.
Millay was told to drive to a hotel, where he collected $3,000 and a disposable cellphone from a pickup.
Afterward, the agent contacted Millay to complain her superiors wanted information that wasn't on the Internet. Millay assured her that the information on the jamming system — about a paragraph's worth — wasn't available. That was later confirmed by military personnel.
He was arrested Oct. 28. A search of his barracks found two handguns, detailed instructions on how to use a Russian Internet phone service and literature from the white supremacist organization, the National Socialists Movement.
Chriswell also testified that Millay has two Nazi SS thunderbolt tattoos under his biceps and spider web tattoos, which he said was common among racists in prison.
"He branded himself in their symbols of hate," military prosecutor Capt. Stewart Hyderkhan said in his closing statement, arguing for at least 25 years in prison. "He had hate for the Army. He had hate for the United States."
Millay's attorney, Seattle-based Charles Swift, argued that the Nazi movement and Russia don't exactly have a lot in common, and that Millay had once been married to Filipino.
Defense witness Dr. Veronica Harris, a psychiatrist, testified Millay had the emotional capability of a 5-year-old and suffers from low self-esteem, mild depression, alcoholism and narcissism.
"I know I've made a terrible mistake," Millay said in court Monday. "I'm a U.S. soldier, and that piece of me, I'm proud of."
Hyderkhan said jailhouse recordings show Millay threatens to continue to divulge secrets.
Swift, in his closing statement, argued that eight years was punitive enough and would provide time for rehabilitation.
The panel recommended a 19-year sentence, but that was dropped to 16 years because of a pretrial agreement. Millay will receive credit for the 535 days he's been jailed since his arrest. The panel also reduced him in rank to private and he will forfeit all pay and allowances.
Swift said he accepts the sentence but will seek further clemency.