Alaska-based soldier gets 16 years in spy case

An Alaska-based military policeman was sentenced to 16 years in prison and will receive a dishonourable discharge.

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (US): An Alaska-based military policeman was sentenced to 16 years in prison and will receive a dishonourable discharge for selling military secrets to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian spy, a military panel decided.

A panel of eight military members from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage recommended a 19-year sentence for Spec. William Colton Millay, but that was dropped to 16 years because of a pretrial agreement. He will receive credit for the 535 days he`s been jailed since his October 28, 2011, arrest. The panel also reduced him in rank to private and he will forfeit all pay and allowances.

The 24-year-old Millay pleaded guilty last month to attempted espionage and other counts. A sentencing panel of male military members heard testimony on Monday.

Military prosecutors painted Millay as a white supremacist who was fed up with the Army and the United States, and was willing to sell secrets to an enemy agent, even if that would cost his fellow soldiers their lives. Defence attorneys said Millay was emotionally stunted, was only seeking attention and was a candidate for rehabilitation.

Millay`s attorney, Seattle-based Charles Swift, said they understand and accept the sentence.

However, "We do intend to seek further clemency as this case goes forward for the reasons that were set forth in the trial: his mental state, his emotional age, and the motivation for it, and the circumstances."

Yesterday`s proceedings were like a mini-trial conducted in front of the sentencing panel, with each side calling two witnesses.

FBI Special Agent Derrick Chriswell said Millay came to their attention in the summer of 2011 through an anonymous tip after Millay sent an email to a Russian publication seeking information about the military and made several calls to the Russian embassy.

"That`s a concern for national security," Chriswell said.

The FBI, working with military intelligence agencies, conducted the investigation. On September 13, 2011, an FBI undercover agent called Millay and set up a meeting the next day at an Anchorage hotel restaurant.

Chriswell testified that during the first meeting with the agent that day, Millay "expressed his disgust with the US military." They then moved to the agent`s hotel room, where audio and video recording devices were in place.

Millay said he`d work for the Russian government, and if they made it worth his while, he`d re-enlist for a second five-year stint. He also said he had confidential information on the Warlock Duke jamming system the US military uses to sweep roadside bombs.