Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

The case of Regan Brian Patrick, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, is one of the well-known espionage cases. Regan was caught in August 2001 at Dulles International Airport, from where he had intended to fly to Switzerland. He had the missile site information regarding Iraq and contact information from the embassy in Switzerland. This espionage case became one of the prominent in the history of the country due to some contradicting and astonishing facts, surrounding it.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay


Regan was born in a blue-collar family. When he studied at school, he had problems with reading and writing and was under the pressure of comparing himself to other more successful children. Only when he managed to enter the Air Force, the situation seemed to have changed for him. He put a lot of effort into self –education, listening to audiobooks and to climb the ranks there. He started up the courses of economics and sociology. Upon 20 –year service limit for officers of his rank, he started to worry about his financial situation, as his wife worked on a nursing degree and they had children. Finally Reagan had $116.000 debt with his credit cards, and he was concerned about his inability to find a civilian job. The solution seemed to be simple for him, when he came across a hidden locker in the office and thought of using the situation for his own sake. The chance to get access to secret documents was seen as an option for earning retirement for him. He received this chance, when he worked for the Interlink – a Web network for the intelligence community at the National Reconnaissance Office in 1995. Regan moved to NRO upon retiring from the military as a Master Sergeant. The computer search in his home computers was conducted and it turned out that there were letters, where he offered the secret information to Iraq, Libya and China for money. For example he had asked Saddam Hussein to pay $13 million for the secret information. “Regan is thought to have been motivated not only by money (he had very heavy personal debts), but also by a sense of disgruntlement, complaining frequently to former coworkers and neighbors about his job and station in life.” (Retired Air Force Sgt. Charged With Espionage, 2001). However, the real motivation of Regan remained unclear, as there are no concrete data about the real reasons, why he took the decision to use the secret documents, intentionally doing harm the country, where he had lived his whole life and which he had served for. His wife claimed to have no idea about his intentions and actions and even less could she comment about the reason of his choice. She was not prosecuted, as this was a part of the agreement with Regan.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

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The part of espionage with obtaining the documents was successful, all the rest plans failed, as Regan was caught before he could contact representatives of other countries for sharing information and getting his payment for this. His trial, which started in January 2003, was led by James Gillis and Patricia Haynes. The prosecutors stated that he deserved death penalty. Regan’s lawyers created the portrait of a misfit, inventing a spy fantasy. Nina Ginsberg was his lead defense attorney, and she used the letters of Regan to Qaddafi and Hussein as the evidence of his childish mind, as they contained a lot of spelling errors. Ginsberg underlined that such an individual was not able to prepare real scheming for state betrayal. She assumed that his papers with numbers were just meaningless documents and were used only to look like code. This assumption could also explain the fact that nobody managed to decode them. This was probably the most surprising fact about this case, that the main character of the case was simply not skilled enough to become a real spy and in addition could not even spell the words correctly. However, after the Olson’s analysis the jury assumed that there were strings in the numbers, written by Regan, and this meant that they were not written in a random manner. Regan was found guilty and sentenced to remaining till the end of his life in prison. “The conviction meant Tale of a Would-Be Spy, Buried Treasure, and Uncrackable Code that the mystery of the trinomes might finally be solved. In a deal with the government to protect his wife from charges and get himself out of solitary confinement, Regan agreed to help retrieve the hidden documents.”Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay (Bhattacharjee, 2016). It was neither bad luck nor purely the professionalism of the corresponding structures, most luckily this espionage was doomed from the very beginning, because Regan seemed to have no clear plan and clear final aims apart of the desire to earn money for his pension. Later Jonathan Shapiro, who was one of the defense attorneys of Regan, would comment that this case of espionage could not be considered as nothing more than an attempt, which was unsuccessful from the very beginning. At the same time McNulty, the prosecutor, insisted that Regan’s actions were serious and had significant damaging potential for the country, even if the attempt of espionage turned out to be unsuccessful.

Overall, the espionage case of Regan Brian Patrick attracted attention of the public and could become a lesson for the future, since this situation helps to realize that not always the spies are specially trained and educated for this job, even usual individuals, having access to important information, could be motivated by financial or other reasons and decide to commit espionage. Thus it could be recommended to conduct thorough checking of all individuals, who might have the least ability to misuse the secret or important information.

At all times material to this indictment:
1. The defendant BRIAN PATRICK REGAN was born October 23, 1962, in Queens, New York. He enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF) in August 1980, and served continuously until August 31, 2000, when he retired at the rank of E-7 (MSGT). His primary specialty in the USAF was signals intelligence analysis.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

2. From 1991 to 1994, REGAN was assigned to the Air Force Intelligence Support Group at the Pentagon, first as a Communications Denial Analyst specializing in targeting the communications systems of military adversaries of the United States, and then as an Air Defense Analyst. His 1992 performance evaluation noted he was a “recognized expert on air defense systems in the Middle East and former Soviet Union.” From mid-1994 to mid-1995, he was assigned to the Joint Military Intelligence College, as a student.

3. From in or about July 1995 until on or about August 31, 2000, REGAN was detailed to the headquarters of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), in the Eastern District of Virginia. The NRO is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for building and operating the nation’s reconnaissance satellites, and is part of the United States Intelligence Community. At the NRO, Regan was assigned to an office named the Signals Intelligence Applications Integration Office, which is responsible for focusing signals intelligence support for tactically deployed military units.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

4. In or about October 2000, REGAN became employed by TRW Incorporated (TRW), in the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as a contractor employee to the NRO, in generally the same capacity as he had served while detailed from the USAF to the NRO.

5. On or about July 30, 2001, REGAN began his TRW assignment at the NRO, at a facility in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Oath of Office and Security Acknowledgments

6. Upon enlisting in the USAF, REGAN signed an oath of office in which he swore that: “I . . . do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

7. Executive Order 12958 and its predecessor orders establish that information in any form that (1) is owned by, produced by or for, or under the control of the United States Government, and (2) falls within any of the categories set forth in Section 1.5 of the order (including intelligence sources or methods; cryptology; military plans; and vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, projects or plans relating to the national security), may be classified by an original classification authority who determines that the unauthorized disclosure of such information reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security. Where such damage would be “serious”, the information may be classified as SECRET. Where such damage would be “exceptionally grave”, the information may be classified as TOP SECRET. Access to classified information at any level may be further restricted through compartmentation in SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION (SCI) categories. Dissemination of classified information at any level may also be restricted through caveats such as NOFORN (Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals).

8. REGAN held TOP SECRET clearances continuously from the time he joined the USAF in 1980 until on or about August 23, 2001, and was indoctrinated for access to a variety of SCI programs. Specifically:

a. on or about November 25, 1991, REGAN signed aClassified Information Nondisclosure Agreement in which heacknowledged that:
…2. I hereby acknowledge that I have received a security indoctrination concerning the nature and protection of classified information, including the procedures to be followed in ascertaining whether other persons to whom I contemplate disclosing this information have been approved for access to it, and that I understand these procedures.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay
3. I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of classified information by me could cause damage or irreparable injury to the United States or could be used to advantage by a foreign nation. I hereby agree that I will never divulge classified information to anyone unless: (a) I have officially verified that the recipient has been properly authorized by the United States Government to receive it; or (b) I have been given prior written notice of authorization from the United States Government Department or Agency . . . responsible for the classification of the information or last granting me a security clearance that such disclosure is permitted. I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information, I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it, except to a person as provided in (a) or (b), above. I further understand that I am obligated to comply withlaws and regulations that prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

4. 1 have been advised that . . . any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by me may constitute a violation, or violations, of United States criminal laws, including the provisions of Sections 641, 793, 794, 798, and 952, Title 18, United States Code,…

7. I understand that all classified information to which I have access or may obtain access by signing this Agreement is now and will remain the property of, or under the control of, the United States Government, unless and until otherwise determined by an authorized official or final-ruling of a court of law. . . .

b. During the course of his USAF service, REGAN was granted access to SCI information, and in that connection signed nondisclosure forms acknowledging his responsibilities regarding such information. For example, on or about July 31, 1995, he signed an SCI Nondisclosure Agreement, in which he acknowledged that he had received security indoctrinations and understood, among other things, that he had been advised that the direct or indirect unauthorized disclosure by him of SCI information “could cause irreparable injury to the United States, and be used to advantage by a foreign nation,” and pledged that “I will never divulge such information, in any form or any manner, to anyone who is not authorized to receive it, without prior written authorization from an appropriate official of the United States Government.” He also acknowledged that he had been advised that such unauthorized disclosure could constitute violations of criminal laws including Title 18, United States Code, Section 794.
c. On or about August 30, 2000, in connection with his retirement from the USAF, REGAN signed a Security Debriefing Acknowledgment in which he stated that he had been reminded of his continuing obligation to comply with the terms of the Agreement he had signed on or about, July 31, 1995.

d. Also on or about August 30, 2000, REGAN signed a Security Termination Statement in which he acknowledged that he understood that “any unauthorized disclosure of information affecting the national defense is prohibited and punishable by law” and agreed that: “I shall not knowingly or wilfully divulge, reveal, or transmit classified information orally or in writing or by any other means, to any unauthorized person or agency.”Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

e. On or about July 30, 2001, REGAN signed another SCI Nondisclosure Agreement, in order for his access to SCI to be reinstated.

Regan’s 1999-2000 Intelink searches
9. Intelink is the United States Intelligence Community’s classified version of the Internet, and can be accessed only by persons holding appropriate security clearances.

10. During at least mid-1999 until his retirement from the USAF, REGAN, from his NRO office, used Intelink to access classified United States intelligence information related to the military preparedness of Iran, Iraq, Libya, and the People’s Republic of China, which information was unrelated to his official duties.

Regan’s June-July 2001 activities

11. On or about the evening of Wednesday, June 13, 2001, REGAN accessed the Internet using a public-access computer at the Crofton Public Library in Crofton, Maryland, which is located near his residence. He conducted a series of Internet searches and viewed files including those bearing the following names:Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

“Embassies of the Arab World”
“Embassies: Laos thru Luxembourg Embassy Resource”

“Foreign Embassies in Paris”

“Foreign Embassies in Switzerland”

“Libyian Embassies and Consulates of Libya @ Embassy World”

“People’s Bureau of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”

In addition, he accessed a web site containing the addresses and telephone numbers of Embassies of Arab countries located in Washington, D.C., as well as web sites using the following links, among others:
“Aljamahiriya Arabe Libyenne Populaire Socialiste”

“Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”

“Saudi Arabia”

“Sweden/Suede”Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

12. On or about Sunday, June 24, 2001, REGAN accessed the Internet using a public-access computer at the Crofton Public Library, and conducted a series of Internet searches using the following terms:
“iraqi embassy”
“iraqi embassy swiss”

“embassies in Switzerland”

“Foreign Embassies in france”

“Foreign Embassies in germany”

“Foreign Embassies in germany of iraq”

“Foreign Embassies in germany of libya”Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay


“swiss hostels”.

He printed out a number of the pages he viewed, and took handwritten notes of information he viewed.
13. On or about Tuesday, June 26, 2001, REGAN boarded a Lufthansa Airlines plane at Dulles International Airport, in the Eastern District of Virginia, and flew to Berlin, Germany. According to the Lufthansa Airlines itinerary, he was due to then fly on to Munich, Germany. On or about Tuesday, July 3, 2001, he flew back from Berlin to Dulles International Airport. This travel was not in connection with any official duties.

14. A suitcase that REGAN checked at Dulles International Airport, for his June 26, 2001, flight to Germany, contained glue and packing tape.

15. On or about Monday, July 30, 2001, REGAN began his TRW assignment at NRO, working at an NRO facility in the Eastern District of Virginia. His initial duties were limited to taking several months of NRO computer-based training necessary for recertification to the position he was to occupy. This training did not require REGAN to access Intelink.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

Regan’s August 2001 activities

16. At approximately 8:00 am on or about Wednesday, August 1, 2001, REGAN received access to the NRO computer system for purposes of his TRW training and assignment. Beginning at approximately 8:40 am, REGAN, in his NRO office, accessed Intelink through the NRO computer system, and opened and viewed several Intelink files containing classified information relating to a particular Libyan missile test range.

17. On or about Thursday, August 2, 2001, REGAN volunteered for a temporary duty assignment to Europe from mid- to late-August 2001, but was rejected.

18. On every weekday from Monday, August 6, 2001, through Thursday, August 23, 2001 — except for five weekdays when he was in training — REGAN accessed Intelink and viewed classified information relating to military facilities in Iraq, Iran, Libya, and the People’s Republic of China, as well as classified documents relating to current United States intelligence collection capabilities against those countries. The classified documents and information were not related to REGAN’s official duties or training.

19. On or about Saturday, August 11, 2001, REGAN purchased an airline ticket for travel from Dulles International Airport,in the Eastern District of Virginia, on Thursday, August 23, 2001, to Zurich, Switzerland, via Frankfurt, Germany, returning by the same route on August 30, 2001. This travel was unrelated to the official duties of Regan.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

20. On or about Wednesday, August 15, 2001, REGAN, in his NRO office, accessed Intelink and viewed two classified images. One was a recent view of a Surface-to-Air Missile launch facility in Country A. The other was a recent view of a Surface-to-Surface Missile facility in Country B. Each classified image bore the geocoordinates for the facility depicted. A torn piece of paper, which was recovered from the burn bag in REGAN’s NRO office on or about Friday, August 17, 2001, bore handwritten notations of those geocoordinates and other words and numbers that appeared on the classified images.

21. On or about Thursday, August 23, 2001, at approximately 8:03 am, REGAN, in his NRO office, accessed Intelink and viewed a file containing classified text and a related classified image, dated “21 August 01”, pertaining to current launch preparations of a particular Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile in Country B. While he was viewing the classified image, REGAN made handwritten notations in a small spiral notebook that he had removed from his front trousers pocket. At the time he made these notations, the notebook was turned sideways.

22. On Thursday, August 23, 2001, beginning at approximately 10:49 am, REGAN left his NRO office and traveled to Dulles International Airport, in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he checked a suitcase onto his flight to Europe. He then returned to his NRO office. At approximately 3:55 pm, REGAN again left his NRO office, and returned to Dulles International Airport, where he passed through security and boarded a shuttle vehicle bound for the international departure area terminal from which his flight to Europe was to depart. At approximately 5:05 pm, while on the shuttle, he was approached by special agents of the FBI, and subsequently placed under arrest.

23. At the time of his arrest, REGAN carried in his front right trousers pocket a small 3-by-5-inch spiral-bound notebook containing various handwritten notations. Only one page of the notebook contains notations written sideways. These notations consist of the term “21 Month” followed by a series of apparently unrelated innocuous words that in fact constitute a personal system of code representing the geocoordinates of the classified image viewed by REGAN that morning, as described in paragraph 21 above.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

24. At the time of his arrest, REGAN carried in his wallet a piece of paper bearing handwritten notations of a series of apparently unrelated innocuous words that in fact are a personal system of code representing the geocoordinates, and other identifying information, of the two classified images REGAN had viewed in his office on August 15, 2001, as described in paragraph 20 above. Also carried by REGAN in his wallet was a piece of paper bearing the street addresses and international telephone numbers for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Bern, Switzerland, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Vienna, Austria, the Embassy of Iraq in Vienna, Austria, and the Iraqi Interests Section in Paris, France.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

25. At the time of his arrest, REGAN carried an accordion folder containing:

a. Four rubber finger-tip protectors.
b. One inner folder containing:

i. three copies of four pages bearing a series of handwritten three-digit number groups, each page bearing the handwritten title of “LETTER” followed by an alphanumeric;
ii. two copies of a page bearing a series of typed alphanumeric groupings;

iii. two copies of a typed page bearing fifteen lines of numbers grouped in series of three;

iv. four blank business-sized envelopes;

v. white adhesive labels; and

vi. Lufthansa/United Airlines tickets issued to Brian Regan; and

c. A second inner folder containing a sheet of paper bearing unclassified descriptions of classified technical training courses and materials which were part of REGAN’s NRO training curriculum. The descriptions demonstrated the classification level and type of classified United States information to which REGAN had access.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay
26. At the time of his arrest, REGAN was carrying a blue canvas bag containing a pocket-sized battery-operated Garmin GPS III Plus global positioning system (GPS) receiver, and six batteries.
27. Also in the blue canvas bag that REGAN was carrying at the time of his arrest were three latex gloves, a roll of Scotch tape, a roll of Scotch mailing tape, and a current United States tourist passport issued to Brian Patrick Regan.

28. At the time of his arrest, REGAN carried a folded piece of paper concealed in his right shoe, between the innersole and a removable sole. On the piece of paper were handwritten the street addresses of the Embassies of the People’s Republic of China in Bern, Switzerland, and Paris, France, the PRC Consulate in Paris, France, the Embassy of Iraq in The Hague, Netherlands, and the Iraqi Interests Section in Paris, France.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

29. The bag checked by REGAN at Dulles international Airport on or about August 23, 2001, contained, among other things, a plastic box, with lid, measuring approximately 14 inches long by 12 inches wide by 6 inches deep, as well as six unused white plastic garbage bags, a roll of Scotch packing tape, and a bottle of Elmer’s glue.

30. On or about Thursday, August 23, 2001, a computer diskette located in REGAN’s residence contained a letter, dated August 31, 2000, addressed to an individual in the Canary Islands, Spain, and stating “I am interested in offshore IBC and bank accounts/credit cards” and requesting information.Espionage Case Study: Brian P. Regan Essay

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