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Prosecutors: Why accused airman spy deserves to die

Brian Regan in an earlier court appearance on August 24, 2001.
Brian Regan in an earlier court appearance on August 24, 2001.  

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) -- A career U.S. Air Force airman accused of trying to sell secrets to Iraq, Libya and China deserves the death penalty because he jeopardized national security and endangered the lives of pilots patrolling over Iraq, federal prosecutors argued in motions filed Friday.

Brian Patrick Regan, a retired Air Force master sergeant who also worked at the National Reconnaissance Office, was arrested last August as he was about to board a flight to Switzerland. He was indicted in April on three counts of attempted espionage and one count of gathering national defense information.

Read the indictment: U.S. v. Patrick Regan (FindLaw)

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In their motions Friday, prosecutors spelled out a list of aggravating factors to justify a death sentence against Regan, including creating a "grave risk to national security" and "a grave risk of death to another person, namely U.S. and allied pilots" patrolling "no-fly" zones over Iraq.

Prosecutors also urged the judge to reject a series of challenges raised by Regan's lawyers to consideration of the death penalty in his case.

One of the pieces of evidence against Regan is a letter he allegedly drafted to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, saying he was willing to commit espionage against the United States for $13 million.

In their filings Friday, prosecutors reminded the judge that Regan wrote: "If I am caught, I will be enprisioned (sic) for the rest of my life, if not executed for this deed ... Considering the risk I am about to take I will require a minimum of $13 million U.S. dollars wire transferred."

Among the secrets Regan is accused of trying to sell were information on the locations of surface-to-air missile facilities maintained by Iraq and China. When he was arrested, FBI agents found classified images of missile facilities in Iraq and China in his wallet, according to the government.

Regan, who retired from the military in 2000, went to work for a contractor at the NRO, which manages U.S. spy satellites. His trial is scheduled to begin next January.


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