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Accused Spy Looked Up Iraq Embassies

Brian Patrick Regan, accused of spying for Iraq, China and Libya, is shown in Alexandria County Sheriff's Office photo.
AP
Testimony in the trial of Brian Patrick Regan moved into its second week Monday as a member of an FBI surveillance team said he saw the suspected spy looking up addresses of Iraqi embassies on the Internet.

Jason Williams, part of a team of FBI employees trailing Regan, said he followed him into the Crofton, Md., public library. Sitting about six feet behind Regan, Williams said he saw him use an Internet search engine to look up addresses of Iraqi embassies in Germany, France and Switzerland. He also sought addresses of Libyan embassies, Williams said.

After Regan left, Williams said he sat down at the same computer and used the back key to look at the Web pages that Regan had viewed.

Regan, 40, worked at the National Reconnaissance Office, the government's spy satellite agency, first for the Air Force and then as employee of TRW Inc., a contractor.

If convicted of attempted espionage, Regan 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.
One of Regan's lawyers, Nina Ginsberg, has called the decision to seek the death penalty "disproportionate."

Prosecutors say the retired master sergeant owed $117,000 in credit card debts when he wrote a letter to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein offering, for $13 million, satellite intelligence that could help Iraq hide anti-aircraft missiles. They say he also offered to sell intelligence data to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"I am willing to commit espionage against the United States by providing your country with highly classified information," the letter to Hussein said, according to the indictment against Regan.

Federal prosecutors said Regan's offer to sell information to Iraq put U.S. and allied pilots patrolling the no-fly zones there at "grave risk of death."

But defense lawyers claimed the letter was nothing more than "the alleged rantings of a retired Air Force master sergeant prepared in what appears to be an effort to scam a foreign government out of $13 million."

Regan was arrested last Aug. 23 while boarding a flight to Zurich, Switzerland, from Dulles International Airport in the Washington suburbs. He was carrying the addresses of the Chinese and Iraqi embassies in Switzerland and Austria in his wallet and tucked into his right shoe, prosecutors said.

Defense lawyers said Regan studied Iraqi intelligence because that had been his area of specialty in the Air Force. They also maintain that his TRW job, along with his wife's budding nursing career, would reverse their financial troubles. The letter to Saddam was found six months after his arrest on a computer that others could access, they added.

Two of Regan's former supervisors testified that the classified documents he viewed on Libya, Iraq, Iran and China, including information about nuclear and biological weapons and satellite photos of missile sites, had nothing to do with his job. At TRW, Regan helped design military training exercises and monitored how well satellites tracked those activities.