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At spy trial, stolen data is called insignificant

©Associated Press
February 7, 2003

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Two national security experts testified Thursday that the U.S. intelligence that spy suspect Brian Patrick Regan was carrying when he was arrested would not have harmed America if sold to a foreign government.

"The information was not terribly significant," said Maynard Anderson, former acting deputy undersecretary of defense for security policy. "It did not provide anyone any information that was not publicly known."

Anderson and Alan Shaw, an analyst with the Center for Naval Analysis, a Washington-area defense think tank, were the final two defense witnesses for Regan. He is charged with trying to sell American intelligence to Iraq, Libya and China for at least $13-million.

Regan's lawyers played videotapes for the judge and jury in a closed-door session, the first time the public was excluded during two weeks of testimony. It was not known what was on those tapes.

Regan, 40, a father of four from Bowie, Md., has pleaded innocent. 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.

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

He was arrested Aug. 23, 2001, at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, where he was about to board a flight 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, prosecutors say. The data allegedly came from classified satellite photographs of the missile sites.

Prosecutors say Regan needed money to pay off debts of more than $100,000.

Anderson and Shaw testified the information Regan had would not hurt U.S. security or help foreign governments. They said it is no secret the United States spies on Iraq and China and knows both countries' missile systems. Much of that information has been widely published, they said.

U.S. security would not have suffered had he given Iraq, China or Libya the information he was carrying at the time of his arrest, Anderson said.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday.

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