APNewsBreak: Defense contractor to plead guilty

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HONOLULU (AP) — A civilian defense contractor accused of giving military secrets to a Chinese girlfriend half his age will be entering a guilty plea, his attorney said Tuesday.

Benjamin Bishop was expected to plead guilty to one count of transmitting national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans.

Bishop was arrested last March at the headquarters for the U.S. Pacific Command, where he worked.

An FBI affidavit last year alleged the then-59-year-old gave his 27-year-old girlfriend classified information about war plans, nuclear weapons, missile defenses and other topics.

Bervar has said the two were in love and that the case was about love, not espionage.

Bishop has been in federal detention in Honolulu for the majority of time since his March 2013 arrest.

U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi allowed him to move to a halfway house last June. But a magistrate judge ordered him back to jail in December after he violated the terms of his release by emailing his girlfriend and writing her a letter.

Bishop, who is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, worked in the field of cyber defense at Pacific Command from May 2011 until his arrest. Prior to that, he helped develop Pacific Command strategy and policy.

Bishop was familiar with the Pacific Command’s highest priority capability gaps, the command’s chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, said in a declaration filed in support of the prosecution’s motion to have him detained without bail.

Bishop was well-versed with the way Pacific Command used cyber security, the declaration said.

From 2010 to 2012, Bishop had access to “top secret” information on efforts to defend against a ballistic missile attack from North Korea, Crutchfield said.

The FBI alleges Bishop and the woman, now 28, started an intimate, romantic relationship in June 2011. The prosecution said she was a graduate student and she and Bishop were having an extramarital affair.

Utah state records show Bishop was married until 2012.

Associated Press

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