NEWARK, N.J. – An FBI intelligence analyst with top secret clearance who worked at a New Jersey Army base was charged Monday with passing classified information about Filipino leaders to current and former officials of that nation.
The analyst, Leandro Aragoncillo (search), sent some of the material to Michael Ray Aquino (search), a former deputy director of the Philippines National Police who now lives in Queens, N.Y., according to an FBI complaint unsealed with the men's arrests.
Aragoncillo, of Woodbury, was hired to work at Fort Monmouth (search) in July 2004 and began sending classified information and documents in January, according to the FBI complaint.
Investigators found that from May to Aug. 15, Aragoncillo printed or downloaded 101 classified documents relating to the Philippines, of which 37 were classified "secret," the complaint said. Details of the documents' contents were not disclosed in court papers or in court.
The probe by immigration authorities began after Aquino was arrested in March, accused of overstaying the tourist visa with which he used to enter the country in July 2001. Aragoncillo met with immigration officials to inquire about the arrest of Aquino, which prompted a review of his work at Fort Monmouth, an Army base on the central New Jersey coast, the complaint said.
Aragoncillo, a Marine for 21 years, and Aquino were ordered held without bail following an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Patty Shwartz. The FBI planned to suspend Aragoncillo on Monday.
Aquino was also a senior superintendent of the now-disbanded Philippines Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, the complaint said.
Aragoncillo family members attending the hearing declined to speak with reporters.
The defendants face a charge of conspiracy and a charge of acting as unregistered foreign agents, the latter of which carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine. Aragoncillo also was charged with unauthorized use of a government computer, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine.
Both men were represented Monday by federal public defenders.