Bail hearing to be held in defense secrets case

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — A civilian defense contractor accused of giving military secrets to a Chinese girlfriend half his age is facing a bail hearing.

Prosecutors said they plan to ask that Benjamin Bishop, 59, be held without bail. Bishop's defense attorney, who has said Bishop wouldn't harm his country, plans to ask U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi to release his client on bond.

Puglisi will hear arguments Friday at federal court in Honolulu.

An FBI affidavit alleges Bishop gave the 27-year-old Chinese national information about war plans, nuclear weapons, missile defenses and other topics over email messages and telephone calls.

The Army Reserve lieutenant colonel was working at the U.S. Pacific Command as a contractor when he was arrested a week ago. Officials haven't disclosed the name of the contractor employing him.

Bishop is charged with one count of communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans.

The affidavit says Bishop met the woman at an international military conference in Hawaii. They began an intimate, romantic relationship in June 2011, when Bishop was working at a Pacific Command office that develops plans to deter potential U.S. adversaries, according to the affidavit and Bishop's LinkedIn profile online.

The woman lives in the U.S. on a student visa, though officials haven't said what institution she's enrolled in. Her identity was not released, and U.S. authorities have not said whether they believe she is working for the Chinese government.

The affidavit says Bishop also gave the girlfriend information about the planned deployment of an early warning radar system in the Pacific.

The unlawfully retaining national defense documents charge stems from allegations Bishop improperly kept some classified information at home. The affidavit said investigators found 12 classified documents there, including one titled "Defense Planning Guidance 2014-2018" that was marked "SECRET/NOFORN."

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