Washington, Feb.12 : A Pentagon weapons expert and a Boeing engineer are among four people taken into custody on suspicion of spying for China.
Fifty-one-year-old Gregg Bergersen, Taiwanese-born businessman Tai Shen Kuo, 58, and Chinese Yu Xin Kang, 33, are said to have plotted to pass on defence secrets to Beijing.
Bergersen, whose unit handles arms sales, was picked up from his Washington home. The other two were arrested in New Orleans.
In a second unrelated case of spying, Boeing engineer Dongfan Chung, 72, was accused yesterday of passing secrets about the US space program - including the Shuttle - to China while holding NASA security clearance.
Chung, of Los Angeles, is suspected by the FBI of spying as far back as 1979, The Mirror reported.
According to the Washington Post, the spies would meet every few months at restaurants in Northern Virginia, or sometimes take in a show in Las Vegas.Both were charged in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria with espionage, one of two cases announced yesterday by the Justice Department that involve alleged Chinese plans to infiltrate U.S. intelligence or companies.
The government is still trying to figure out how much damage Bergersen may have caused with the information he is accused of giving Kuo, which mostly concerned U.S. military sales to Taiwan.
Bergersen's wife, Ofelia, said outside the federal courthouse after a brief hearing yesterday that her husband is "absolutely innocent."
A spokesman for the Arlington County-based Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a Defense agency where Bergersen is a weapons policy analyst, would not comment.
If convicted, Bergersen faces up to 10 years in prison. Kuo and a third person charged, Yu Xin Kang, 33, of New Orleans, face up to life in prison. The former Boeing engineer charged in California, Dongfan "Greg" Chung, 72, faces more than 100 years in prison. Federal officials said many of the documents he is accused of stealing were found in his home and never made it to China.