Mon, Oct 15, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Former spy denies using sex to secure intelligence

AP , TAIPEI

A former Taiwanese spy has rebutted allegations that she had a personal relationship with a veteran US State Department officer in order to gather intelligence for Taiwan, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Isabelle Cheng (程念慈), a former agent in Washington for the National Security Bureau, burst into tears when she discussed the alleged links, which led to the arrest of Donald Keyser in September 2004, the Chinese-language China Times reported.

Keyser, a US State Department veteran with 30 years service, was sentenced to one year in jail in January on charges of concealing his personal relationship with Cheng and of unauthorized possession of classified documents.

The China Times quoted Cheng, 37, as saying in an interview in Taipei that misleading news reports about the spy incident unfairly caused damage to Keyser and herself.

"He [Keyser] was such a patriotic person, and now he's even stripped of his pension," she was quoted as saying in her first known interview with the media since the case came to light.

Cheng said that the bureau did not use sex in order to help gather classified information, the report said.

Cheng resigned from the National Security Bureau after testifying in the case in Washington. The newspaper said she is studying for her doctorate in an unnamed foreign country.

US court documents revealed an intensely personal relationship between the two. Keyser was said to have frequently expressed his infatuation with Cheng, and the two often discussed international relations.

Keyser denied engaging in sexual contact with Cheng, even though US federal agents said they witnessed the pair in compromising positions.

Court documents also showed that Taiwanese intelligence considered its contact with Keyser valuable, and they believed he could provide insight into the sensitive relations between China, Taiwan and the US.

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