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Posted at 11:19 PM ET, 07/20/2010

CIA applicant's arrest tops wave of China spy cases

By Jeff Stein

A young Michigan man was quietly arrested last month and charged with lying on a CIA job application about his connection with Chinese intelligence, a case that drew virtually no attention outside his home state.

Glenn Duffie Shriver, 28, of Georgetown Township, Mich., tried to conceal $70,000 in payments from the Beijing government and denied his “numerous” meetings with Chinese intelligence officials, according to the government’s indictment.

The indictment doesn’t say what kind of work he was seeking at the CIA. It could not be learned if Shriver had yet entered a plea.

His mother, Karen Chavez, declined to comment on her son's case except to say he "deserves a fair shake."

"He's a good kid. He loves the United States," Chavez told the Grand Rapids Press.

"We thought he was applying for a job to help and use his skills for the United States. He hasn't had any contact back with China for at least five years, maybe six."

Shriver’s arrest on June 22 is just the latest in a virtual tsunami of prosecutions against suspected Chinese agents in the past two years. Many cases are hidden and ongoing.

But more than 40 Chinese and American citizens have been quietly prosecuted -- most of them successfully -- on espionage-related charges in just a little over two years, according to information supplied by the Justice Department. The figure dwarfs the number of Russian spies expelled earlier this month, creating an international sensation.

Lacking a glamorous Mata Hari like the curvaceous Russian spy Anna Chapman, however, almost all the Chinese cases were prosecuted with little fanfare, one at a time, over a period of 28 months.

Also, unlike the spectacular arrests of Russian moles inside the CIA and FBI during the Cold War, the Chinese cases reveal a long-term, even plodding drive by Beijing to acquire U.S. technical and economic -- more than political -- secrets by any means necessary.

“In recent years, the Justice Department has handled an increasing number of prosecutions involving sensitive American weapons technology, trade secrets and other restricted information bound for China,” said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Justice Department's National Security Division.

“Some of these cases have involved individuals operating on behalf of the Chinese government or intelligence. Many others have involved private-sector businessmen, scientists, students, or others collecting sensitive U.S. technology or data that is routed to China.”

Requests for comment from Chinese officials were not immediately answered.

At SpyTalk's request, Boyd supplied a compendium of successful federal prosecutions involving espionage and espionage-related charges against Chinese agents, which he cautioned may not be complete.

The list revealed that the Justice Department had convicted 44 individuals in 26 cases since March 2008, almost all of whom are now serving time in federal prisons.

By Jeff Stein  | July 20, 2010; 11:19 PM ET
Categories:  Financial/business, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Lawandcourts  
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