U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi conditionally appointed Bishop an attorney Monday after hearing arguments that his finances weren’t sufficient to cover the high costs of defending himself against an espionage charge.
U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni speaks at a news conference in Honolulu on Monday, March 18, 2013 to announce authorities have charged a U.S. Pacific Command defense contractor with giving defense secrets to a Chinese woman he was romantically involved with.
A civilian defense contractor who works in intelligence at the U.S. Pacific Command has been charged with giving national security secrets to a 27-year-old Chinese woman he was dating, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday.
Benjamin Pierce Bishop, 59, is accused of sending the woman an email last May with information on existing war plans, nuclear weapons and U.S. relations with international partners, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu.
The complaint alleged Bishop told the woman over the telephone in September about the deployment of U.S. strategic nuclear systems and about the ability of the U.S. to detect other nations’ low- and medium-range ballistic missiles.
Bishop met the woman at a conference in Hawaii on international military defense issues, the complaint said. It did not specify when the conference was held, but it alleged the two began an intimate, romantic relationship in June 2011.
The complaint said the woman was living in the U.S. as a student on a J-1 visa, for people in work- and study-based exchange programs. It was not clear what institution she attended, or where she is now.
It’s also not known which defense contractor employs Bishop.