WASHINGTON — Yu Xin Kang, age 33, of New Orleans, La., was sentenced today in the Eastern District of Virginia to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for aiding and abetting an unregistered agent of a foreign government, namely the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in violation of 18 U.S.C., Sections 2 and 951. Kang pleaded guilty to this offense on May 28, 2008, after being arrested by federal authorities on Feb. 11, 2008.
Patrick Rowan, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of the Eastern District of Virginia; and Arthur M. Cummings, II, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema imposed the sentence.
According to a Statement of Facts filed in Court with Kang’s Plea Agreement, the criminal conduct spanned the time period of March 2007 to Feb. 11, 2008. During this period, Kang, a citizen of the PRC and a lawful permanent resident alien of the United States, aided and abetted Tai Shen Kuo in acting in the United States as an agent of the government of the PRC without prior notification to the Attorney General.
Kuo, a naturalized U.S. citizen and New Orleans businessman, maintained a close relationship with an official of the government of the PRC and provided him with sensitive U.S. government information, including national defense information. The PRC official directed Kuo in this effort, giving him instructions on information and documents to collect and paying him approximately $50,000.00 for completing those tasks. Kuo, as an unregistered agent of the PRC, operated within the United States under the PRC official’s direction, committing numerous acts of espionage during the time period of the conspiracy.
For her part, Kang assisted Kuo by periodically serving as a conduit for information between Kuo and the PRC official. The PRC official regularly asked Kuo to use Kang as an intermediary for the delivery of information and documents from the United States. In addition, Kuo occasionally met with the PRC official inside Kang’s Beijing apartment, and on at least one occasion, Kuo left a sealed envelope containing U.S. Defense Department documents inside Kang’s Beijing apartment for later retrieval by the PRC official. Kang understood that the PRC official was affiliated with the PRC government and worked on military matters for the PRC.
Kuo obtained national defense information from Gregg W. Bergersen – a Weapons Systems Policy Analyst at the Arlington, Va.-based Defense Security Cooperation Agency, an agency within the Department of Defense – on several occasions. The information pertained primarily to U.S. military sales to Taiwan and U.S. military communications security and was classified at the Secret level.
During the course of the conspiracy, Kuo cultivated a friendship with Bergersen, bestowing on him gifts, cash payments, dinners, and trips to such places as Las Vegas. Kuo also led Bergersen to believe that he would make Bergersen a part owner or an employee of a company selling U.S. defense technology to Taiwan after Bergersen’s retirement from government service. Unbeknownst to Bergersen, Kuo passed along to the PRC official the documents and information Bergersen had provided him.
On July 11, 2008, Bergersen was sentenced to 57 months in prison and three years supervised release after pleading guilty on March 31, 2008 to conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(d), (g).
On May 13, 2008, Tai Shen Kuo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government, namely, the PRC, in violation of 18 U.S.C., Section 794(a), (c). Kuo is scheduled to be sentenced on August 8, 2008 and faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) provided substantial assistance and cooperation throughout the course of the investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil Hammerstrom and Aaron Zebley from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorney Ryan Fayhee from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.