US law enforcement officials on Monday arrested three people on charges of spying for China to obtain top secret information on US arms sales to Taiwan over a period of more than two years.
In a 35-page indictment brought in a federal court in Virginia, the FBI shed light on what appears to be previously unknown military cooperation arrangements between Washington and Taipei meant to help Taiwan deal with an attack by China. The information allegedly involved two secret arms sales programs.
Arrested were Kuo Tai-shen (
The indictment said that starting in January 2006, Bergersen provided Kuo with information about US arms and military services sales, which were transmitted to an unnamed Chinese military official in Beijing through Kang, who operated, in spy parlance, as a "cut out" or intermediary.
The indictment focuses on two sets of secret information.
One is a command and information technology program called "Po Sheng," or "Broad Victory" that Taiwan initiated in 2003, which included the purchase of "a substantial amount of the technology" from the US government.
The program involves so-called C4ISR technology, which stands for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, all considered crucial to winning any military confrontation.
"One crucial security cooperation goal for national purchasing C4ISR technology," the indictment said, "is compatibility with United States military systems. Accordingly, DSCA has stated its intention to release systems that promote communications between friendly forces and the United States forces."
The indictment quotes the US Pacific Command's director of command and control (C4) systems as saying the information "could be used to damage the United States' national defense."
The other is a previously unknown five-year program of planned military sales to Taiwan, apparently updated by both sides each year.
Every year, the DSCA prepares a top secret report for the US Congress on its projected five-year sales plan for Taiwan as part of its so-called "Javits Report," named after the late US senator Jacob Javits.
The report lists the "quantity, dollar value and name of weapons systems planned for sale to Taiwan over the next five years," according to the indictment filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Monday.
Bergersen allegedly showed last year's Javits Taiwan section to Kuo for money.
On July 14 last year, Kuo flew to Washington to visit Bergersen for the Taiwan information he wanted. Four days later, Bergersen told Kuo over the telephone "that he had obtained everything the United States had delivered to Taiwan from 1980 to the present, as well as the projected sales for the next five years," the FBI said.
After their meeting, the two had dinner, after which Kuo "spent approximately one hour recording notes" on what Bergersen supplied.
The notes were seen by the FBI and described as "a near verbatim copy of portions of the Taiwan sections of the Javits Report."
On a ride to Dulles International Airport outside Washington later, Kuo placed a "half-inch folded stack of cash" into Bergersen's front shirt pocket.
"The outer bill was a US$100 note," the indictment said.
The next day, Kuo sent an e-mail message on his laptop to the Chinese military official referred to as "PRC Official A" to say: "Just got back from DC and have good talk with G ... [who] gave me two paper is very very sensitive. One is about T's future Sale and he couldn't give it to me but let me hand write down most of information. Another is the complete update of PS program, govt everything in there about the program."
"PS" is believed to refer to Po Sheng. "T" refers to Taiwan.
The FBI says the PRC official is based in Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
It quotes Kuo as saying that the official sees Kuo on all his trips to Beijing because "the Central Committee has assigned him to take care of me."
Kuo was identified as the owner of a New Orleans furniture business.
At one point, he allegedly also tried to establish two companies to obtain subcontracts for items sold for Po Sheng.
During a dinner at a Washington area restaurant, Kuo and Bergersen discussed communication security.
"Bergersen revealed information about United States and Taiwan communications security, requested that Kuo share the information with Taiwanese officials, and asked Guo to arrange a meeting with Taiwan Ministry of Defense officials," the FBI said.
It was not clear whether any such meeting took place, or what the purpose of such a meeting might have been.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday it had set up a task force to assess security leaks.
"The defense ministry considers the espionage case recently cracked in the United States of great importance," the ministry said in a statement.
"The defense ministry has organized a contingency group to assess, and control damage, if any, that may arise from the case," it said, without elaborating.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP
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