Defense Presents Case in Regan Spy Trial
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) _ The first witnesses in support of spy suspect Brian Patrick Regan testified that the information he allegedly tried to sell could be obtained from private satellite companies.
Regan’s lawyers began arguing their case Wednesday after the government finished presenting its witnesses. U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee rejected a defense motion to dismiss the charges.
Regan, 40, of Bowie, Md., has pleaded innocent to charges that he offered to sell confidential documents, including satellite photos, to Iraq, Libya and China for $13 million.
When arrested, Regan had notes with the coordinates of Iraqi and Chinese missile sites, the type of missiles stored there and the date of satellite photos of the areas. His lawyers have argued that the information Regan offered was not classified but was available from private satellite companies.
Ray Williamson, a research professor at George Washington University’s space policy institute, said companies would take satellite pictures of any site for a fee. The archives of some private companies include satellite photos of the Iraqi and Chinese sites that Regan had information on, Williamson said.
The satellites could take pictures of missiles clear enough to detect their make and model, he said. ``It’s like a large digital camera in the sky,″ he said.
On cross-examination, Williamson agreed that the private companies do not have experts who know how to search areas to find missile sites.
Also testifying for the defense was Stephan Schnabel, an employee of defense contractor Scitor Corp. who worked with Regan on military training exercises. He said some scenarios involved weapons systems of specific countries, including Iraq.
``The complexity, how they operate, you have do to a little research,″ Schnabel said.
Regan’s lawyers have argued that the retired Air Force master sergeant looked up classified documents about Iraqi missile systems in part because he needed the latest information to design realistic exercises. They also said he was keeping up to date on areas he once specialized in.
Two former supervisors of Regan, testifying for the government, had said his responsibilities had nothing to do with Iraq.
Regan worked at the National Reconnaissance Office, the government’s satellite spy agency, first for the Air Force and then as a civilian employee of defense contractor TRW Inc.
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