SPY CASES - UNITED STATES

Leandro Aragoncillo

Materials arranged chronologically.

U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey. "News Release: Leandro Aragoncillo and Michael Ray Aquino." 12 Sep. 2005. [http://www.cicentre.com]

Leandro Aragoncillo, an FBI intelligence analyst at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, was arrested on 10 September 2005 and charged with acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign official and passing classified information to that official and others in the Philippines. Also arrested was Michael Ray Aquino, a former official with the Philippines National Police. He is charged with with acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign official and passing classified information to that official and others in the Philippines.

Smothers, Ronald. "Two Men Are Charged With Passing Secrets to Philippines." New York Times, 13 Sep. 2005. [http://www.nytimes.com]

FBI analyst Leandro Aragoncillo and Michael Ray Aquino, former deputy director of the Philippines National Police, have been arrested and are "accused of passing classified agency information to government officials in Manila.... According to affidavits by F.B.I. agents, Mr. Aragoncillo passed copies of classified F.B.I. documents about the Philippines to Mr. Aquino between February and August [2005] by way of cellphone text messages and e-mail messages through Hotmail and Yahoo accounts."

Lichtblau, Eric, and Ronald Smothers. "New Spy Case Revives Concerns Over Security at F.B.I." New York Times, 7 Oct. 2005. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The widening investigation into an F.B.I. analyst suspected of passing intelligence to the Philippines is raising new concerns about the bureau's vulnerabilities in protecting its secrets from internal espionage.... Leandro Aragoncillo ... is accused of improperly combing the [FBI's] computer system to print or download 101 classified documents on the Philippines, including 37 marked 'secret,' and passing the information to Manila."

Bridis, Ted. "FBI Missed Internal Signs of Espionage." Associated Press, 17 Jan. 2006. [http://www.ap.org]

"By the government's own account, FBI analyst Leandro Aragoncillo was spying in plain sight. He rummaged through FBI computers for intelligence reports unrelated to his work and then e-mailed the classified documents to opposition leaders in the Philippines.... Aragoncillo's lawyers and prosecutors are trying to wrap up a plea deal that would secure a guilty plea and his cooperation.... He is not charged with espionage.... Instead, he's charged in court papers with conspiring to reveal government secrets, acting as a foreign agent and improperly using FBI computers."

Smothers, Ronald. "Former Marine Admits Passing Secret Documents." New York Times, 5 May 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 4 May 2006, Leandro Aragoncillo "pleaded guilty in federal court to passing top-secret information and documents to political opponents of the current Philippine government." Aragoncillo worked in the White House in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and, from 2004, as an FBI intelligence analyst.

CNN. "FBI Analyst Sentenced for Spying." 18 Jul. 2007. [http://www.cnn.com]

According to federal prosecutors, Leandro Aragoncillo was sentenced on 18 July 2007 to "10 years in prison for espionage" and fined $40,000. Aragoncillo "admitted supplying classified documents to Philippine nationals in an effort to overthrow that country's government."

On 17 July 2007, "Michael Ray Aquino, a co-conspirator, was sentenced ... to six years in prison." Aquino, a former Philippine national police officer, "pleaded guilty in July 2006 to taking classified documents, obtained from Aragoncillo, and passing them on to Philippine officials plotting to overthrow [Philippine President Gloria Macapagal] Arroyo."

Associated Press. "Court Vacates Sentence of Filipino in Spy Case." 6 Feb. 2009. [http://www.newsday.com]

On 6 February 2009, a federal appeals court vacated the sentence of former Philippine National Police officer Michael Ray Aquino, who is "serving a six-year, four-month sentence after pleading guilty to unauthorized possession of classified documents." The court "concluded that the sentence was based on a mistaken interpretation of federal guidelines." Aquino's lawyer said that the new sentencing range will be 36 to 46 months.

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