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Accused Spy Awaits His Fate

Brian Patrick Regan's fate is in the hands of 12 jurors after both the government and the defense wrapped up their arguments in the former Air Force sergeant's espionage trial.

Four of the 16 jurors and alternates were dismissed Monday afternoon, leaving a panel of eight men and four women. They deliberated for about an hour before being dismissed for the day by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. Because of the judge's schedule, jurors were off Tuesday and are scheduled to return Wednesday.

Regan, 40, of Bowie, Md., has denied trying to sell classified information to Iraq, Libya and China. Regan worked both as a military member and as a civilian employee for defense contractor TRW Inc. at the National Reconnaissance Office, the government's spy satellite agency.

If convicted, he could become the first American executed for spying since 1953, when Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were put to death for conspiring to steal U.S. atomic secrets for the Soviet Union.

Summing up the prosecution's case, Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis contended Regan sent letters that offered to sell top-secret intelligence information to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi for $13 million. Investigators found the documents on a laptop computer taken from Regan's home.

"He would have given them whatever they would have paid for," Gillis said, pointing at Regan. "Can you imagine what Saddam Hussein could have done with the information he was offering?"

Defense attorney Nina Ginsberg said the prosecution presented no evidence that Regan sent the letters, which were riddled with misspellings.

"The letter which is so damaging in the government's view was never sent to Saddam Hussein," Ginsberg said in her closing argument.

Regan was arrested Aug. 23, 2001, at Dulles International Airport near Washington as he was about to fly to Zurich, Switzerland. He was carrying coded coordinates of missile sites in Iraq and China, the types of missiles stored there and the dates the information was obtained. The data allegedly came from classified satellite photographs of the missile sites.

At the time, Regan had credit card debts of almost $117,000, providing what prosecutors said was a financial motive. Defense attorneys said Regan's new job at TRW, combined with military pension and his wife's budding nursing career, would reverse the family's fortunes.

Ginsberg acknowledged that Regan was carrying missile information when arrested. But she said the classified satellite photos that contained that data had included more sensitive details that Regan had not copied.

"The information Mr. Regan had with him - the only thing we know he did for sure - would not have harmed the United States and would not aid another country," Ginsberg said. She called Regan's actions "childish," "unprofessional," "nonsense" and "harebrained."

"No serious foreign power would ever want to deal with this person," Ginsberg said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Haynes said Regan was not playing spy, but actually was willing to sell out the U.S. government for the right price.

"Brian Regan is not a fantasizer," she said. "Brian Regan is a traitor."

Jury Deliberates Charges He Tried To Sell Data To Iraq, Libya, China