WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gregg William Bergersen, age 51, of Alexandria, Virginia, pled guilty today to a one-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to disclose national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it, in violation of 18 U.S.C., Sections 793(d) and (g). Bergersen was arrested on February 11, 2008 on a criminal complaint charging this same offense.
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 the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Bergersen faces up to ten years in prison when he is sentenced on June 20, 2008.
“Mr. Bergersen betrayed his oath to serve and protect our nation when he used his government position to access and pass national defense information to a person he knew was not entitled to receive it. This case serves as a reminder that espionage networks are relentless in their efforts to steal our secrets and continue to pose a serious threat to our national security,” said Patrick Rowan, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
“Every day, dedicated men and women throughout government serve our nation with honor and dignity. Mr. Bergersen chose a different path – a path of dishonor – that is deeply disappointing,” said U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg.
According to a Statement of Facts filed in Court with Bergersen’s Plea Agreement, the criminal conduct spanned the time period of March 2007 to February 2008. During this time, Bergersen -- a Weapons Systems Policy Analyst at the Arlington, Va.-based Defense Security Cooperation Agency, an agency within the Department of Defense -- provided national defense information on numerous occasions to Tai Shen Kuo, a New Orleans businessman.
Much of the information pertained to U.S. military sales to Taiwan 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 money for gambling during trips to Las Vegas.
Unbeknown to Bergersen, Kuo passed along to an official of the government of the PRC the information Bergersen had provided him. In some of his meetings with Kuo, Bergersen cautioned that the information he was providing was classified.
On one such occasion, in July 2007, Bergersen handed Kuo a classified document with jagged cut marks at the top and bottom of each page. Bergersen pointed out to Kuo that he had cut off the document’s title and had also removed the classification markings from the top and bottom of every page, ensuring Kuo that he was being given classified information.
Espionage charges are still pending against Kuo and an alleged conspirator, Yu Xin Kang, both of whom remain held without bond.
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.