Guard at U.S. Consulate in China tried to sell classified information
A model of the new U.S. Consulate compound in Guangzhou, China
August 31st, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Guard at U.S. Consulate in China tried to sell classified information

By Carol Cratty

A civilian guard at a new U.S. consulate in China pleaded guilty on Thursday to attempting to sell Chinese security officials photographs and access to the compound so they could plant listening devices.

According to a court proffer, Bryan Underwood had lost a significant amount of money in the stock market and hoped to make between $3 million and $5 million by supplying classified photos and information to China's Ministry of State Security.

Underwood, 32, appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to communicate national defense information to a foreign government. Under the terms of a plea agreement, the government agreed to drop charges that Underwood made false statements and that he failed to appear at a court hearing last year.

In the court proffer signed by Underwood, he admitted writing a letter last year addressed to the Chinese Ministry of State Security. "I know I have information and skills that would be beneficial to your offices (sic) goals," Underwood wrote. "And I know your office can assist me in my financial endeavors."

Underwood tried to deliver the letter to China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) but a guard turned him away and would not accept the letter. According to court documents, Underwood then "left the letter in the open in his apartment hoping that the MSS would find it. He believed the MSS routinely conducted searches of apartments occupied by Americans."

Prosecutors said that Underwood's job was to protect the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou - not to make it vulnerable to Chinese counterintelligence. According to a news release quoting prosecutors, "The U.S. government has found no evidence that Underwood succeeded in passing classified information concerning the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to anyone at the Chinese MSS." Officials said there is no evidence suggesting the Chinese ever tried to recruit him for espionage.

In May of 2011 Underwood took 30 photographs in restricted areas. Prosecutors said 15 of those "depict areas and/or information that are classified at the SECRET level." He drew a diagram showing the locations of security cameras at the compound and created a schematic listing all security upgrades to the building site.

The proffer also said Underwood "mentally" came up with a plan in which Chinese agents could get into the compound undetected for approximately six hours to "install listening devices or other technical penetrations."

In addition to working as a guard at the consulate in February 2011 Underwood was asked by a U.S. law enforcement agent to help on a counter-surveillance project. Underwood was to tell the American agent about "any suspected attempts by the Chinese Government to recruit him for intelligence purposes." Underwood later came up with the idea to use his role helping law enforcement as a "cover" for contacting the Chinese.

According to court documents, Underwood's stock brokerage account dropped from almost $69,000 in February 2011 to a negative sum of more than $89,000 in April 2011. His account was frozen and he "became panicked about his financial situation," according to the court papers.

Underwood was interviewed by law enforcement several times and finally admitted he was trying to sell information to the Chinese for financial gain. He was arrested September 1, 2011. Underwood failed to show up for a court appearance in Washington later in the month. The FBI caught up with him a few days later at a Los Angeles hotel, arrested him again and he's been in jail ever since.

"Bryan Underwood was determined to make millions by selling secret photos of restricted areas inside a U.S. Consulate in China," said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen. "His greed drove him to exploit his access to America's secrets to line his own pockets."

Underwood appeared in federal court wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. He answered questions asked by U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle in a calm, clear voice. When asked about any history of psychological problems, Underwood said he takes medication for anxiety and depression.

Underwood is scheduled to be sentenced on November 19. The plea agreement recommends a sentence of at least 15 and a half years up to almost 20 years. Huvelle is not bound by the recommendation and could sentence Underwood to up to life in prison.

Post by:
Filed under: China • FBI • Legal
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. pharmaceptica.com

    erectile function restored after turp https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  2. pharmaceptica.com

    tadalafil peptide https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 10:05 am | Reply
  3. pharmacepticacom

    sulfur effects on body https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 16, 2021 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  4. Salvatore Ibach

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 9, 2021 at 6:29 am | Reply
  5. Cassidy Perini

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 7, 2021 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  6. buy chloroquine uk

    hydroxychloroquine drug clozapine hydroxychloroquine 200mg tablets

    June 7, 2021 at 4:46 am | Reply
  7. cialis

    tadalafil tablets ip cialis pills vidalista tadalafil reviews

    June 5, 2021 at 11:10 am | Reply
  8. cost tadalafil generic

    what is tadalafil tadalafil citrate powder tadalafil contraindications

    June 5, 2021 at 8:47 am | Reply
  9. tadalafil cialis

    tadalista where to order tadalafil tablets mambo 36 side effects

    June 4, 2021 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  10. Cecil Seibold

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs

    http://beyondnewhorizons.com/tag/reader-response/

    June 2, 2021 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  11. Elwood Westall

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2007/01/sampler-is-published-maybe-it-has-to.html?showComment=1170543540000

    May 30, 2021 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  12. Zola Kosofsky

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://rescattered.blogspot.com/2010/01/

    May 30, 2021 at 3:58 am | Reply
  13. Sheron Tonder

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2004/10/new-roles-for-digital-writing-most-new.html?showComment=1358436860794

    May 29, 2021 at 3:07 am | Reply
  14. Leo Mccallun

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2017/09/event-eventually.html?m=0

    May 28, 2021 at 2:54 am | Reply
  15. apposyattance

    generic cialis online fast shipping https://tadalafilol.com/ – best price usa tadalafil cialis without prescription tadalafil without a doctor prescription cialis cost

    May 27, 2021 at 12:03 am | Reply
  16. apposyattance

    what is tadalafil tadalafil online with out prescription canada generic tadalafil tadalafil cost in canada https://tadalafilol.com/ – cialis at canadian pharmacy

    May 26, 2021 at 5:11 am | Reply
  17. CleplePewCred

    buy tadalafil where to get tadalafil cost tadalafil generic tadalafil cialis https://cttadalafil.com/ – cialis without prescription

    May 26, 2021 at 12:56 am | Reply
  18. CleplePewCred

    tadalafil blood pressure tadalafil online tadalafil generic tadalafil from uk https://tadalafilww.com/ – cheap cialis pills for sale

    May 24, 2021 at 1:00 am | Reply
  19. apposyattance

    https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ where to buy cialis without prescription https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – canada generic tadalafil buy tadalis

    May 24, 2021 at 12:56 am | Reply
  20. Ruby Badgero

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2008/07/locks.html?m=0

    May 23, 2021 at 2:17 am | Reply
  21. combigan

    combigan uk brimonidine

    May 22, 2021 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  22. Kevin Wildridge

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/03/medal-cimber-sterling-earns-crazier-than-ryanair-medal/

    http://www.donationto.com/nonprofit-organizations/washington/mukilteo/future-of-flight-foundation

    May 21, 2021 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  23. Scarlett Bonier

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2006/09/back.html?showComment=1157484960000&m=0

    May 20, 2021 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  24. Barton Woodruff

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

    http://adolit.blogspot.com/2006/05/crazysuperfun-cam.html

    May 19, 2021 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  25. Laurence Marcille

    I don't know about you all but I am obsessed with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2008/08/fees-go-up-profit-goes-up-passengers-go-down/

    http://www.donationto.com/nonprofit-organizations/washington/mukilteo/future-of-flight-foundation

    May 19, 2021 at 1:46 am | Reply
  26. Porter Trevillion

    I don't know about you guys but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/01/alaska-airlines-starts-flights-from-bellingham-wa-to-honolulu/

    http://www.washingtonbids.us/washington-contractors/naics-71-Arts-Entertainment.14.htm

    May 17, 2021 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  27. Danika Pridgett

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-future-of-handwriting.html?m=0

    May 16, 2021 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  28. Gloria Barzey

    I don't know about you all but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2008/08/an-faa-oops-causes-some-problems-time-to-update/

    http://mastersprogrambest.blogspot.com/2013/09/national-security-masters-programs_20.html

    May 16, 2021 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  29. Merissa Beshear

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusuf-hanafy-82493b183

    May 11, 2021 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  30. Loida Barthen

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2009/11/birmingham-small-arms-tale-of.html?showComment=1262018522526

    May 10, 2021 at 3:51 am | Reply
  31. leadgen@lexiconpublishing.com

    Hi There!

    See how I managed to get your attention? Wouldn't it be amazing if you could get in front of millions of targeted people with your own product or service...just like I just did (wink)

    Contact 50k targeted leads for 5 cents each [$2,500]
    Contact 100k targeted leads for 4 cents each [$4,000]
    Contact 250k targeted leads for 3 cents each [$7,500]
    Contact 500k targeted leads for 2 cents each [$10,000]
    Contact 1 Million targeted leads for 1.5 cents each [$15,000]

    Let me know if this interests you by replying with the type of product and/or service that you are interested in promoting.

    We will only accept you as a client if we believe our method would work well for you.

    Thanks!

    May 8, 2021 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  32. hydroxychloroquin

    sulfur effects on body https://chloroquineorigin.com/ is chloroquine phosphate the same as hydroxychloroquine

    April 30, 2021 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  33. avana

    buy avanafil uk avana tablet

    April 30, 2021 at 5:16 am | Reply
  34. canadian generic pills

    canadian pharmacies ed pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    April 29, 2021 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  35. buy chloroquine online

    clorquine https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# choloriquine

    April 29, 2021 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  36. priligy

    dapoxetine tablet price in india buy priligy usa

    April 28, 2021 at 7:49 am | Reply
  37. sildenafil generic price uk

    sildenafil over the counter usa https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil 85

    April 25, 2021 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  38. buy cheap zithromax online

    medications zithromax https://zithromaxes.com/ z pak indications

    April 21, 2021 at 9:42 am | Reply
  39. canadian pills online

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pills pharmacy

    April 20, 2021 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  40. erectile dysfunction remedies

    erectile performance https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ causes of erectile dysfunction

    April 17, 2021 at 11:33 am | Reply
  41. alprostadil nasal spray

    where to buy alprostadil gel https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil ingredients 745-65-3

    April 15, 2021 at 8:36 am | Reply
  42. tadalafil generic

    tadalafil 40 https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil dosage

    April 14, 2021 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  43. vardenafil tablets 20 mg

    levitra (vardenafil) https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil 20mg dosage

    April 12, 2021 at 2:53 am | Reply
  44. 21 duke casino no deposit codes

    free casino games slots https://casinoxsgames.com/ doubledown casino free codes facebook

    March 28, 2021 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  45. four winds casino new buffalo mi

    mission 2 game casino https://casinoxsplay.com/ free computer casino game downloads

    March 25, 2021 at 1:09 am | Reply
  46. free slots casino games for fun

    casino games reston https://casinoxsbest.com/ best casino odds in vegas

    March 24, 2021 at 7:34 am | Reply
  47. aliente casino bingo

    free games las vegas casino https://casinoxsbonus.com/ bingo in don laughlin riverside hotel and casino

    March 24, 2021 at 1:02 am | Reply
  48. game share doubledown casino promo codes

    four winds casino new buffolo michigan https://casinoxsonline.com/ how to put money on casino player cards

    March 23, 2021 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  49. Megalis

    tadalafil 100mg best price tadalafil tablets for sale

    March 12, 2021 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  50. avanafil

    buy avanafil avanafil 50mg

    March 12, 2021 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  51. priligy

    dapoxetine 10 mg dapoxetine

    March 12, 2021 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  52. vreyrolinomit

    With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of completely unique content I've either written myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being stolen? I'd definitely appreciate it.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    February 26, 2021 at 10:36 am | Reply
  53. where to buy zithromax

    citramax https://zithromaxes.com/ uti zithromax

    February 8, 2021 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  54. plaquenil eye side effects

    erectile review https://plaquenilx.com/ online doctor erectile dysfunction

    February 8, 2021 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  55. arechin

    cloriquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ malaria skin rash

    February 8, 2021 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  56. tadalafil online

    tadalis 20mg https://tadalisxs.com/ tadalafila 5mg

    February 8, 2021 at 11:49 am | Reply
  57. cheap erectile dysfunction pills online

    men with erectile dysfunction
    erectile disorder treatment
    top erectile dysfunction products

    November 27, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  58. kaner3700@mail.ru

    Hi, Get access to name brand products, and learn how to finance products. For more details, visit: https://waytosolutions.net

    September 9, 2019 at 9:40 am | Reply
  59. Victoria

    Who knows what to believe? But 15 years is too much.

    September 5, 2012 at 5:55 am | Reply
  60. Barry Ford

    This is, as the German guy wrote is some organization's "fairy tale" (märchen) about a very stupid greedy would-be US traitor. If it really happened, apparently the Chinese did not take the "bait." I smell a CIA disinformation operation because like most fairly tales, this story is unreal. I think it is probably meant to warn someone, but I'm not sure who is the target of this fiction might be. Is it a warning to our State Department employees? Curious.
    As we see from the comments, this story is easy fodder for the knee-jerk non-thinkers among us who scornfully urge lethal punishment. You can't kill a fairy tale.

    September 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      So the CIA went to all this trouble to stage a fake potential espionage incident, and make sure news agencies in the US ran the story on the outside chance that State Department employees might read it and decide not to take the same course of action?

      Did your tinfoil hat fall off?

      September 4, 2012 at 7:45 am | Reply
  61. Alexander

    "...his stock brokerage account dropped from almost $69,000 in February 2011 to a negative sum of more than $89,000 in April 2011" - can anybody explain how it is possible that a brokerage account ends up being NEGATIVE?

    September 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
    • Short

      He could have had a short position. Death to all traitors.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:32 am | Reply
  62. Ach ja

    Was für eine Märchen von CNN – die wahre Göbbels-Harfe

    September 2, 2012 at 7:48 am | Reply
  63. 66th Strategic Command & Operations Unit.

    The charges against him should be
    – Treason –> Punishable by death (Even in the U.S)
    – Intent to selling classified material to a foreign government (Espionage –> Act of aggression)

    Either way serious crime was committed and he should pay for it.

    September 2, 2012 at 12:00 am | Reply
    • Short

      I support the death penalty if convicted. Execute him just like the Rosenbergs.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:32 am | Reply
      • :)

        The Rosenbergs were murdered by a self-loathing Jew for nothing more than a headline in a paper.

        September 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  64. wavejump1100

    what a dirt bag. throw the book at him.

    September 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  65. NoN

    "His greed drove him to exploit his access to America's secrets to line his own pockets."- sounds like your typical American to me.

    September 1, 2012 at 10:26 am | Reply
    • Thor

      Sounds like a politician, he's in the wrong business

      September 2, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
  66. James Johnson

    Was this one of the private armies we have created such as Blackwater, CIA, etc................ It seems a regular U.S. Soldier does not act on this level of stock trading, etc.......... They and their families find it difficult to even feed and clothe their families.....The wonderful New World U.S., where the earned benefits of the elderly are diminishing so these private armies can be created.

    September 1, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
  67. :)

    This story made me laugh out loud.

    August 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  68. The Kux Klux Klam chowder

    He should be charged with treason for trying to cause terroristik actiivitey on our land and proud country. this is a disgrass to America and he should be exectured at once!

    August 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • cajr

      you should have stayed in school.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply

Leave a Reply to Salvatore Ibach


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.