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Ex-US consulate guard sentenced for passing info to China

March 06, 2013 11:08 IST

A former United States security guard at an American Consulate compound in China was on Wednesday sentenced by a federal court to nine years in prison for trying to sell photos and other secret information to the Chinese.

"Bryan Underwood betrayed America's trust by attempting to sell access to secure areas of the very US consulate compound he was charged to protect," said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco after the court verdict in this regard.

"Underwood is going to prison because he tried to make millions by selling secret photos of a US consulate to a foreign government," said US Attorney Ronald Machen.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said in May 2011, Underwood secreted a camera into the new US consulate compound and took photographs of a restricted building and its contents.

Several of these photographs depict areas or information classified at the secret level.

Underwood also created a schematic that listed all security upgrades to the US consulate and drew a diagram of the surveillance camera locations at the consulate. In addition, according to his subsequent statements to US law enforcement, Underwood ‘mentally’ constructed a plan in which the Chinese Ministry of State Security could gain undetected access to a building at the US consulate to install listening devices or other technical penetrations.

The US government has found no evidence that Underwood succeeded in passing classified information concerning the US consulate in Guangzhou to anyone at the Chinese MSS, the justice department said.

Underwood was arrested in September 2011 in a hotel room in Los Angeles, with over $10,000 in cash and 80,000 Japanese yen. He has been in custody ever since.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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