A U.S. federal judge has sentenced former consulate security guard Bryan Underwood to nine years in prison for attempting to sell information and photographs to China’s Ministry of State Security, according to The Washington Post:
Before sentencing Bryan Underwood, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle noted the obstacles he had overcome — including mental health problems — and his ill-conceived plan.
“This is the most half-baked treason I’ve ever heard of,” she said.
The Justice Department says Underwood took photographs of restricted areas at the new U.S. consulate in Guangzhou and planned to use them to help China eavesdrop on U.S. officials. The department said that Underwood had lost nearly $160,000 in the stock market and hoped to make $3 million to $5 million. Underwood wrote a letter expressing his desire to work for the China ministry, but was turned away when he attempted to deliver it.
Last year, he pleaded guilty to attempting to communicate national defense information to a foreign government.
Underwood was arrested in Los Angeles in 2011 after evading initial charges that he had lied to the FBI about why he had taken photographs of the consulate.