Washington: An American who studied in China has pleaded guilty to attempted espionage after he admitted to being recruited by Beijing to infiltrate US intelligence agencies, the Justice Department said.
Glenn Shriver, 28, faces a sentence of two years in prison under a plea agreement, the department said. His sentencing was scheduled for January 21.
Shriver "attempted to gain access to classified US national defence information by securing a position within the US government under false pretenses," with the goal of passing it on to China, a Justice Department statement said.
Shriver who lived in China as a university undergraduate and after graduation was approached in 2004 by three Chinese intelligence officers while living in Shanghai, it said.
"At the request of these foreign agents, Shriver agreed to return to the United States and apply for positions in US intelligence agencies or law enforcement agencies," it said, citing a statement of facts filed as part of the plea agreement.
From 2005 to 2010, he tried get jobs with the US Foreign Service and with the CIA clandestine service, hiding his contacts with the Chinese officers. He met with one or more of them about 20 times.
During that period, he received more than USD 70,000 in payments from Chinese intelligence officers, according to the statement.
In December 2009, he received notice to report to Washington DC for final processing for a job at the CIA.
"Shriver admitted that he communicated with a PRC (Peoples Republic of China) intelligence officer that he was `making some progress` in obtaining a position with the CIA and that he would not be free to travel to PRC for another meeting because it could raise suspicion," the Justice Department said.