Former Air Force sergeant accused of spying will go on trial May 20 at earliest - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Former Air Force sergeant accused of spying will go on trial May 20 at earliest

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) _ A former Air Force sergeant accused of attempted espionage could go on trial May 20, but the date will be pushed back if prosecutors decide to seek the death penalty.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee on Monday gave the government until April 22 to make the death penalty determination. Regan is charged with attempting to spy for Iraq, Libya and China.

Regan, as an Air Force sergeant, was assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office, a Defense Department agency responsible for building and operating the nation's spy satellites.

Regan worked in a section that was responsible for transmitting satellite intelligence to deployed military units.

After leaving the Air Force, Regan went to work for defense contractor TRW and once again was assigned to the satellite agency.

Regan, wearing a prisoner jumpsuit, did not speak during the brief hearing to set a trial date.

The government has not revealed whether Regan actually turned over any secrets. He is charged with three counts of attempted espionage and one of gathering national defense information.

Prosecutors used Regan's own words in the indictment, quoting from letters they allege he wrote to Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The indictment mentioned no letter to a Chinese leader but said Regan planned to provide national defense information to China.

One letter demanded $13 million from Saddam, contending this was ``a small price to pay to have someone within the heart of U.S. intelligence agency providing you with vital secrets.''

In a message filled with grammatical and spelling errors, Regan is accused of writing to the Iraqi leader: ``I dought this small amount of money means that much to your government but if you are not willing to pay the price don't bother contacting me.'' Prosecutors quoted the letter as saying the amount was nonnegotiable and pointing out that movie stars and athletes routinely receive such sums.

The information offered concerned the locations of U.S satellites, early warning systems, means of retaliating against a large-scale attack and communications information, the indictment said.

The letter to Gadhafi was similar, except Regan suggested that a ``loyal Libyan student'' be selected as his contact instead of a ``loyal Iraqi student,'' the indictment said.

The indictment said that last August, Regan had contacted a classified Internet site that included a view of a missile facility in China and a file on launch preparations at the Chinese site.

Regan was arrested Aug. 23 at Washington Dulles International Airport as he headed for the international departure terminal.
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