HONOLULU — A civilian defense contractor faces a court hearing Thursday on federal charges, accused of giving military secrets to a Chinese girlfriend.
Benjamin Bishop was expected to plead guilty in federal court in Honolulu. His lawyer, Birney Bervar, says Bishop plans to plead guilty to one count of transmitting national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans.
The 60-year-old Bishop was arrested nearly one year ago at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters.
Court documents say Bishop emailed his girlfriend classified information on joint training and planning sessions between the United States and South Korea. The documents say Bishop also kept classified documents at home, including one on U.S. force posture in Asia and the Pacific.
Authorities have not released the 28-year-old girlfriend’s identity or whereabouts, or said publicly whether they believe she was working for the Chinese government. An affidavit filed by the FBI last year alleged that she may have attended an international defense conference in Hawaii specifically to target people like Bishop who had access to classified information. The affidavit said they met at the conference then started a romantic relationship in 2011.
Bervar has said Bishop and the girl were in love and that the case was about their relationship, not spying.
Bishop, who is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, worked in the field of cyber defense at Pacific Command from May 2011 until his arrest. Before that, he helped develop Pacific Command strategy and policy.