ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The U.S. Army charged an Alaska-based soldier Monday with attempted espionage, saying he communicated and transmitted national defense information to someone he believed was a foreign intelligence agent.
According to the charges, 22-year-old Spc. William Colton Millay of Owensboro, Ky., intended to aid a foreign nation.
"Millay had access to the information through the course of his normal duties both stateside and on a previous deployment, and although the information was unclassified, Millay believed that it could be used to the advantage of a foreign nation," according to a description of the charges released by Army officials.
Officials would not identify the country Millay believed the so-called agent represented or if their investigation involved a sting operation. Millay was assigned to a combat tour in Iraq from December 2009 to July 2010, and he served in Korea, according to information provided by the Army.
Millay, a military police officer, also is charged with communicating defense information, issuing false statements, failing to obey regulations and soliciting a fellow service member at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage to get classified material. According to the charges, the false statements were made to Army counterintelligence officials about the information Millay disclosed to the person he believed was a foreign agent and the scope of his attempts at contact with foreign governments
Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll would not identify the time period involved.
Among the charges, Millay is accused of violating regulations and concealing and storing two firearms and ammunition in his barracks room.
"This applies to rules we all abide by," Coppernoll said.
Army officials said Millay was being observed during the espionage investigation and no damage occurred.
Millay is charged through the military justice system.
His attorney, Steve Karns of Dallas, told The Associated Press on Monday that he has not spoken with Millay since the charges were filed and he hoped to do so Tuesday. Last week, when he spoke to Millay by phone, his client told him he is innocent, Karns said.
"I'm hopeful that in the end the charges will sound more serious than anything that may have occurred," he said. "My feeling is that this will not pan out to be as serious, if anything did occur, as it sounds."
Officials have said there is no connection with the case involving Army analyst Bradley Manning, who is suspected of disclosing secret intelligence to WikiLeaks.
Millay's Oct. 28 arrest stems from an investigation by the Army, FBI and the Air Force office of special investigations.
Millay is assigned to the 164th Military Police Company. Most company members were deployed Afghanistan in March, but Millay was in the company's rear detachment that stayed behind. He began his Alaska assignment in May.
Since his arrest, Millay has been in custody without bail at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.