Judge delays bail decision in defense secrets case

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — A federal judge said Friday he wants to hear more arguments before deciding whether a civilian defense contractor accused of giving military secrets to a Chinese girlfriend should be released on bail while awaiting trial.

The judge also will consider releasing Benjamin Bishop, 59, to a third-party custodian.

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.

An FBI affidavit alleges Bishop gave his 27-year-old girlfriend classified information about war plans, nuclear weapons, missile defenses and other topics through email messages and telephone calls.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi set another hearing for Monday.

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.

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. U.S. authorities have not identified her or said whether they believe she is working for the Chinese government.

The unlawfully retaining national defense documents charge stems from allegations Bishop improperly kept some classified information at home.

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