A while back a little story emerged about a US embassy security guard was arrested for trying to pass secret to the Chinese government.
Sounds pretty ominous as yet another Chinese espionage case? Today, we know some more details:
The US government wanted to throw the book at Bryan Underwood for “attempting to contact Chinese Ministry of State Security” to pass “secret” information about the new US embassy compound in Guangzhou.
Except, Bryan Underwood was a “Half-Baked” traitor, according to the Judge presiding the case, because after several attempts, he didn’t even succeed in contacting the Chinese government.
According to his subsequent statements to U.S. law enforcement, Underwood intended to sell his information about and access to the U.S. Consulate to the Chinese MSS for $3 million to $5 million. If any U.S. personnel caught him, he planned to falsely claim he was assisting U.S. law enforcement.
As part of his plan, Underwood wrote a letter to the Chinese MSS, expressing his “interest in initiating a business arrangement with your offices” and stating, “I know I have information and skills that would be beneficial to your offices [sic] goals. And I know your office can assist me in my financial endeavors.” According to court documents, Underwood attempted to deliver this letter to the offices of the Chinese MSS in Guangzhou, but was turned away by a guard who declined to accept the letter. Underwood then left the letter in the open in his apartment hoping that the Chinese MSS would find it, as he believed the MSS routinely conducted searches of apartments occupied by Americans.
Or, more accurately, the Chinese government didn’t want any thing to do with such “secrets”.
“This is the most half-baked treason I’ve ever heard of,” (Judge) Huvelle said. Ultimately, “nothing happened.”
The US government wanted Life in Prison for Underwood, no doubt as an example. The judge gave him only 9 years. Underwood’s attorney claimed all manners of excuses, such as Underwood’s financial losses in the stock market and his mental conditions (apparently, the Benedict Arnold Defense strategy worked this time).
Fortunately, Underwood didn’t succeed, NOT even in contacting Chinese officials.
But perhaps even Underwood mistakenly believed in the hype of “Chinese espionage”, and that somehow, if he just left some letter in the open in his apartment, Chinese government would search it and find it.
That’s what happens when one believes too much in some propaganda stories.
That also says a great deal about the reality of many “Chinese espionage” accusations.
The underlying REALITY of this story was, that this was not the 1st time nor the last time that a Westerner would sell out their own employer or their own countries for mercenary purposes. Undoubtedly, there are mercenaries in pretty much all over the world, willing to sell out even their own mothers if they are pressed by “financial” or “mental” problems.
And China and US, or any government, are more than happy to pay for secrets, if useful. (Even Western media are in the game to buy “secrets”).
So, what’s the big deal about “Chinese espionage”? other than a lot of self-righteous hot air?
Perhaps the real mysterious question about Underwood, is why would the Chinese government refuse to take his “secret”?? No doubt Underwood kept asking himself that repeatedly.
And that only shows the amateurish nature of some self-appointed spies:
It is a rule of espionage, that Secrets taken from your adversary is more useful if he doesn’t know that you have taken it, even if everyone practically spies on everyone.
Then, it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that amateurs such as Underwood (and many other alleged Chinese spies), have no chance in this game, because why would any government buy such “secrets” from someone who would obviously likely to get caught??
If the Chinese government bought Underwood’s “secrets”, it would not be long before the US government catch him, interrogate him, and then fix every thing that related to the “secret”.
Even when Underwood didn’t succeed in contacting the Chinese government, he still got caught! He quickly confessed, and revealed exactly what he took, and even what he intended to take.
Bottomline: He was a “Half-baked” Traitor, who nobody could possibly take seriously.
On that note, equally “half-baked” was US government’s attempt to go after such “half-baked” traitors and spies. Let’s face it, this is NOT real espionage.