Tuesday, December 13, 2005

US Official Pleads Guilty to Handing Secret Documents to Taiwan

Lots of play to the big sex and spying case in many newspapers. Here it says:

A senior US State Department official pleaded guilty to removing secret documents while having a "personal relationship" with a Taiwanese spy, the Justice Department said.

Donald Keyser, a former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, also pleaded guilty to making false statements over an "undisclosed personal relationship" with a Taiwanese intelligence agent named as Isabelle Cheng, the department said.

Keyser, 62, will be sentenced on February 24 over the single count of removing documents and two of making false statements.

The Justice Department said in a statement that Keyser could face a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Each count carries a maximum fine of US$250,000.

"Between 1992 and September 4, 2004, Keyser removed numerous classified documents from the Department of State and transported them to his home in Fairfax, Virginia.

"In all, Keyser had over 3,600 documents in either hard copy or electronic form," the department said.

Forbes has a more detailed report:

US authorities said Keyser had conducted an 'undisclosed' relationship with Cheng from 2002 to September 2004, saying she was employed by 'the foreign intelligence agency of the government of Taiwan'.

Cheng, also known as Nain-Tzu Cheng, arrived in Washington in 2001 where she worked out of an office at The Taipei Economic Cultural and Representative Office, which represents the Taiwanese authorities in Washington.

'Keyser ... regularly communicated with her by telephone and e-mail, met with her privately on numerous occasions, and occasionally travelled with her,' the statement said.

Damn! Why don't they ever send one of these women after me? I'd spill everything to Lin Chih-ling or Hsu Chi. Heck, I'd even whisper a few of my choicest secrets to Jolin Tsai ("Why is my pasta sauce so good? It's the fennel, my sweet"). After, all at my age I can't afford to be picky.

UPDATE: Don't miss Tim's comments below. There's quite a bit of private speculation among the bloggers that Cheng may have been working for Beijing as well. Poor husband.


Todd Alperovitz said...

Jolin Tsai > Everyone

Tim Maddog said...

As with Apple Daily reporters, having Taiwanese nationality doesn't guarantee that Cheng isn't doing Beijing's bidding. (Kinda like what Judith Miller did for Chalabi.) According to the Taipei Times, Cheng's husband, Chris Cockel, is (or, at the very least, was) the Washington correspondent for the China Post (which can be verified here.)

Check out some related craziness from the September 20, 2004 issue of the China Post (particularly paragraphs 14-18 of that article), and tell me if there isn't a whole buncha hanky-panky going on both at that paper and at the United Daily News.

Michael Turton said...

Yeah, I was speculating on Cheng's real affiliation with another blogger and had the same thought. A triple spy...


Anonymous said...

I must be psychic

Tim Maddog said...

I musta shoulda given a tip of the hat to the Taipei Kid for those links. While doing the related research, I had too many pages open to recall which came from where, but I did visit his blog somewhere along the way, and he obviously had the best links of all. Belated thanks, Taipei Kid!

Anonymous said...

Re: doing Beijing's bidding, dude, get the facts straight. The China Post is a Taiwanese newspaper. The Taipei Times' primary competitor in fact.

Michael Turton said...

No, really? Imagine that! the China Post is published here in Taiwan? And to think in all my years here I never noticed...