ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Defense Department analyst pleaded guilty Monday to delivering classified information about U.S. and Taiwanese military communications systems to a Louisiana businessman working with the Chinese government.
Gregg Bergersen, 51, of Alexandria, a weapons analyst at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency who held top secret security clearances, was arrested last month. Prosecutors alleged he divulged military secrets to a New Orleans furniture salesman, Tai Kuo, who turned over the information to communist China.
In a plea hearing Monday, Bergersen pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiring to communicate national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it. He faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on June 20.
According to a statement of facts, Bergersen received thousands of dollars in cash from Kuo since March 2007, including $3,000 in cash for playing poker during an April 2007 gambling trip to Las Vegas. The document also states that Bergersen thought that Kuo was closely affiliated with the Taiwan Ministry of Defense. He was unaware though that Kuo also maintained contact with a foreign official from Beijing, to whom Kuo was relaying the information.
An FBI affidavit filed last month spelled out detailed evidence against Kuo, including taped conversations in which Bergersen acknowledged to Kuo that he could go to jail for his actions.
The affidavit says that Kuo provided gambling money and show tickets on trips to Las Vegas and in at least one instance caught on videotape, gave Bergersen a half-inch thick stack of folded cash, with a $100 bill on the outside.
Kuo and a third defendant, Chinese national Yu Xin Kang, 33, face more serious charges that carry a possible life sentence. Both are in jail awaiting trial.
Kuo, 58, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and a native of Taiwan. He is the son-in-law of Xue Yue, a Chinese nationalist general who was a close associate of Chiang Kai-shek.
Prosecutors allege that Kang, 33, served as the go-between for Kuo and the People's Republic of China.
Some of the weapons information passed between Bergersen and Kuo related to Taiwan's new Po Sheng air defense system. Taiwanese military officials have said the disclosures caused some damage but did not compromise key technology.
The Chinese government has called the accusations of espionage in the Po Sheng affair groundless and accused the U.S. of "Cold War thinking."