Former US guard jailed in China spying case
WASHINGTON: A former guard at a US consulate compound being built in China was sentenced to nine years' jail after admitting to trying to sell classified photographs and information about the building to the Chinese.
Bryan Underwood, 32, learned of his punishment on Tuesday in federal court in Washington after pleading guilty in August to attempting to communicate national defence information to China. He planned to sell the information and access to the compound under construction in the southern city of Guangzhou for as much as $US5 million, according to the US.
"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," Lisa Monaco, head of the Justice Department's national security division, said.
Underwood was charged in 2011 with attempting to pass secret information to China's State Security Ministry and making false statements. The guard lost a substantial amount of money in the stock market in March 2011 and then devised a plan to sell the classified information, the US government said.
Underwood sneaked a camera into the compound and took photographs of a restricted building, the government said. He also wrote a letter to the Chinese ministry expressing interest in initiating a business arrangement, according to court papers.