American justice officials have called it a betrayal of his country. Others might just call it an embarrassing attempt at spycraft. Either way, Bryan Underwood's days of selling secrets to foreign powers are likely over, as he faces conviction on federal charges.
Mr. Underwood, a former security guard at the United States consulate in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, has pleaded guilty to attempting to sell top-secret information to Chinese security forces, in order to cover his own losses on the stock market. The information he wanted to sell mostly concerned the layout and surveillance plans of the consulate facilities, which are still under construction.
Underwood has now confessed to his attempted sale of the information, which would have allowed professional Chinese spies to plant surveillance devices in the compound. He's also confessed to the comedy of errors that resulted when he was unable to close the sale; China's state security bureau was not interested. Underwood's follow up move, of simply leaving a letter containing his offer open on a table in his apartment, also did not result in a successful sale—but might have been what got him caught. He now likely faces up to 20 years in prison.
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