HONOLULU (AP) – A magistrate revoked bail Thursday for a defense contractor accused of giving military secrets to his Chinese girlfriend, because the man sent her a letter and email against a judge’s orders.
Benjamin Bishop must return to federal detention while he awaits trial, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang ordered.
Bishop didn’t contest the allegations that he communicated with the girlfriend, his defense attorney Birney Bervar said after a short hearing in Honolulu. But he said the letters were love letters, showing the case was about love and not espionage.
“These were love letters, that’s what they were. Nothing substantive or substantial in there. They were just love letters wishing her a happy birthday and love and good life,” Bervar said.
Bervar said Bishop had asked another resident of the halfway house where he has been living to send the letters and set up an email account so he could contact his girlfriend.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi ruled in May that Bishop could stay at the halfway house, but she imposed conditions designed to prevent him from contacting the woman. She prohibited him from using the Internet and from possessing a cellphone.
Bishop had been arrested in March at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters, where he was working as a contractor.
Prosecutors charged Bishop, who was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, with one count of communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it, and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans.
Authorities say Bishop gave his girlfriend, a graduate student in her late 20s, secrets about U.S. nuclear weapons, missile defenses, war plans, early warning radar systems and other issues.
Bishop, who is about 60, began staying at the halfway house near downtown Honolulu in June.
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