Deputy Attorney General Transcript
News Conference - Superceding Indictment of Brian Patrick Regan
Thursday, February 14,2002
DOJ Conference Center
MR. THOMPSON: Good afternoon.
On October 23rd, 2001, Brian Patrick Regan was indicted on one count of attempted espionage. Today a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia has returned a four-count superseding indictment charging Regan with three counts of attempted espionage and one count of gathering national defense information. The indictment details Regan's betrayal of his country by attempting to sell for cash highly classified national security information to Libya, Iraq and China. Counts 1 and 2 carry a maximum penalty of death.
I want to thank Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff and U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty, both up here with me today, for their hard work and the work of their offices and the hard work of the FBI for bringing this indictment to a conclusion.
As the indictment details, Regan, a 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force, had been assigned to the Air Force Intelligence Support Group at the Pentagon before -- before being detailed to the headquarters of the National Reconnaissance Office. Upon retirement from the military in 2000, Regan began working for TRW as a contract employee at the National Reconnaissance Office. The grand-jury indictment being released today details a systematic and calculated plan to damage our
country's national security. Regan is charged with attempts to sell our intelligence agencies' most valuable secrets for the purpose of enriching himself. As explained in the indictment, Regan's own words describe his determined efforts to compromise our national security.
As the indictment explains in a letter Regan drafted to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Regan wrote, and I quote, from the indictment, "I am willing to commit espionage against the United States by providing your country with highly classified information. I have a top secret clearance and have access to documents from all of the U.S. intelligence agencies," end of quote from the indictment.
According to the indictment, Regan demanded $13 million to sell our nation's secrets to Iraq, saying, again I quote from the indictment, "If I am caught, I will be imprisoned for the rest of my life, if not executed, for this deed. Considering the risk I am about to take, I will require a minimum payment of $13 million U.S. dollars. There are many people, from movie stars to athletes in the U.S., who receive tens of millions of dollars a year for their trivial contributions. If I'm going to risk my life and the
future of my family, I am going to get paid a fair price," end of quote from the indictment.
In another offer to Hussein outlined in the indictment, Regan offered to reveal top secret information that directly concerns satellites, early-warning systems, means of defense against large- scale attack, communication intelligence information and major elements of defense strategy.
Regan's letter stated, and again I quote from the indictment, "Your first 13 million will buy you vital information on systems that cost the U.S. hundreds of billions to build, operate and maintain," again, end of quote from the indictment.
The indictment outlines a similar letter Regan wrote to Muammar Qadhafi of Libya offering the same type of U.S. national security information as in his letter to Saddam Hussein. As the indictment details, Regan offered Qadhafi top secret SCI information that directly concerned satellites, early-warning systems, means of defense against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information and major elements of defense strategy.
As the indictment charges, with few exceptions, Regan made a regular practice of accessing IntelLink, the intelligence community's classified Internet, every Monday through Thursday, August 6th through August 23rd of the year 2001.
And he viewed classified information relating to military facilities in Iraq, Iran, Libya, and the People's Republic of China, as well as classified documents relating to current U.S. intelligence collection capabilities against those countries. This information was not related to his official duties or training.
As the indictment charges, Regan's espionage scheme was terminated on August 23rd, 2001. That day, Regan was arrested by special agents of the FBI as he attempted to board an international flight for Europe.
The indictment charges that at the time of his arrest by special agents of the FBI at Dulles Airport, Regan carried, among other things, a piece of paper in his wallet containing a personal code representing the geocoordinates and other identifying information of two classified images he had accessed on IntelLink and viewed in his office at NRO on August 15, 2001. One was a recent view of a mobile surface-to-air missile launch facility in the Northern No-Fly Zone in Iraq, and the other was a
recent view of a surface-to-surface missile facility in the People's Republic of China.
When Brian Regan entered the Air Force, he signed an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. During the 21 years he held top-secret clearances, Regan repeatedly signed classified agreements acknowledging his responsibility to maintain our nation's secrets. These agreements made it clear that unauthorized disclosure of classified information was a violation of U.S. criminal laws.
As the indictment charges, Regan's actions to sell our national security were a direct violation of his repeated oaths to protect and defend the United States of America, its Constitution and its national security secrets. And the indictment paints a picture of betrayal by a man who had been gifted with our nation's trust.
Thank you. And we will be happy to answer any questions.
Q: Mr. Thompson, the indictment notably charges him with attempted espionage. Are you confident that he didn't pass any classified, top secret information to any foreign power other than the -- sort of the introductory exchange?
MR. THOMPSON: As you know, this indictment does charge him with attempted espionage. And I really can't go beyond what this indictment alleges.
Q: Why did it take so long to bring the subsequent charges? And were the letters to Hussein and Qadhafi ever sent -- (off mike)?
MR. THOMPSON: Let me answer the latter part of that question. Again, the indictment alleges that he attempted to commit espionage. And I really can't go beyond what's in the four corners of the indictment. That's not proper.
But as you may recall, when the original indictment came down, there was a clearer statement that the investigation continues. And in this kind of case, that is something that usually happens. And this is an appropriate time, and the grand jury found that this was an appropriate time to bring these charges.
Q: You've said in the past that --
Q: But you can't tell us how the letters ended up or whether they were actually sent?
MR. THOMPSON: I really can't go beyond the indictment.
Q: You said in the indictment that he was badly in debt. Is there any evidence that any money ever changed hands? Did he ever receive any --
MR. THOMPSON: Again, I can't comment beyond the four corners of the indictment, Toni. It would be improper to do that.
Yes, sir? In the back.
Q: He claims in the letter that he was working for the CIA. Was he? And also, how high up the intelligence, you know -- how high up the intelligence pole was he? What kind of access did he have to classified information?
MR. THOMPSON: Well, as the indictment alleges, he was an employee of the NRO, the National Reconnaissance Office, and he held top-secret clearances.
Q: But he never worked with the CIA, correct?
MR. THOMPSON: As the indictment alleges, he was -- he worked -- he was an employee of the NRO.
Any additional questions? Yes, sir?
Q: Is it too early to say whether you will seek the death penalty or not, although there are a couple of charges that are qualified?
MR. THOMPSON: Two of the attempted espionage charges are death- eligible. There is, of course, a procedure in the Department of Justice, a prosecutorial decision procedure, by which the U.S. attorney will make a decision as to whether or not to actually seek the death penalty. But as the --
STAFF: Last question.
MR. THOMPSON: As we noted, the -- two of those counts are death- eligible.
Q: I assume he's going to be arraigned soon on these new charges. Do you have -- is that set? Can you tell us what the new schedule is yet?
MR. THOMPSON: I'll ask our --
Q: (Off mike.)
MR. THOMPSON: I'll ask our U.S. attorney to respond to that question.
MR. MCNULTY: Tomorrow is the appearance on this. I think it's scheduled for -- (to staff) -- do we have a time on this --
STAFF: Nine a.m.
MR. MCNULTY: Nine a.m.
Q: Nine a.m. tomorrow. Is it Judge Lee (sp)?
STAFF: Judge Hilton.
MR. MCNULTY: Hilton. Yes.
Q: Where is he now? Where is Mr. Regan now?
MR. MCNULTY: We don't disclose the location of individuals that are in -- currently in our system in normal situations, and I'll stick with that policy.
Q: Is the hearing tomorrow an arraignment, Paul?
MR. MCNULTY: Yes. I'm sorry. Did I -- it's an arraignment. Yes, it is. Yeah.
Q: I just wanted to be clear.
MR. THOMPSON: Okay. Thank you.
Superceding Indictment of Brian Patrick Regan