US guard accused of trying to pass secrets to China

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 28, 2011 3:59 PM
US guard accused of trying to pass secrets to China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former contract security guard at a U.S. consulate in China has been indicted for trying to pass secrets to China, including photographs of the American facility, U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Bryan Underwood, 31, was arrested in Los Angeles after fleeing from initial charges that he lied to the FBI about why he was taking photographs of the consulate. Prosecutors declined to identify the consulate where he worked in China.

Underwood was released on his own recognizance on the lying charges but, after he fled, a federal grand jury in Washington indicted him for trying to pass national defense information to China.

Underwood was caught on Saturday in Los Angeles after failing to appear in court on the false statement charges.

The new indictment accused him of writing a letter to Chinese officials expressing an interest "in initiating a business arrangement" and also lying when he told FBI agents he was trying to help them when he took photos of his workplace.

He was also charged with failing to appear in court on the other initial false statement charges.

U.S. prosecutors have brought charges against numerous people over the years who have tried to spy for China, including some who sought money in exchange for economic or national security-related information.

A lawyer for Underwood was not immediately available for comment. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Todd Eastham)