The Chinese woman at the heart of an espionage case against US defense contractor Benjamin Bishop remains a mystery. Bishop, 59, is accused of sharing national secrets with the young woman staying in the United States on a student visa. The unsealed federal indictment against Bishop refers to the Chinese national as simply “Person 1.”
The pair met when Bishop was attending an international weapons conference in Hawaii. The Justice Department complaint details the crimes the defense contractor has been charged with, but does not include any legal charges against the woman. Bishop is accused of sharing information about short and medium range missile detection systems and early warning radar systems used in the Pacific Rim. Prior to his arrest, the former Army officer had top secret clearance.
The unnamed Chinese woman’s role in the alleged espionage case remains under investigation. She allegedly asked Bishop what western countries knew about a specific Chinese naval asset. US Justice Department officials have not noted publicly whether or not they believe the woman Chinese spy.
The federal affidavit also states that the Chinese national told Benjamin Bishop multiple times that she did not want him to shared classified information, but kept asking him about his work. Bishop reportedly told the much younger girlfriend that he would not share classified details, but allegedly did so anyway. Conversations between the US defense contractor and the Chinese woman were reportedly recorded on wiretaps.
The intimate relationship between Bishop and the possible Chinese spy reportedly began in June of 2011. He was married until last year, according to Utah court documents. His ex-wife has so far declined to discuss either the reasons for their divorce or anything about the charges against her former spouse.
Bishop’s neighbor, Sandra Doyle, stated during a recent interview that “it was clear” the defense contractor was having a fling with the young woman before the divorce. Doyle also maintained that the Chinese national was a college student in Washington, D.C., but she did not know at which school.
US-China Economic and Security Review Commission member Larry Wortzel maintains that China has used “sexual entrapment” to garner intelligence in the past. Wortzel also stated that the present allegations are not surprising.
Investigators do not yet know if the information Bishop allegedly shared with the possible Chinese spy damaged national security. Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies Director of Programs Carl Baker said the potential damage to America’s security would depend on how detailed the information shared was and whether or not the Chinese woman knew if it was classified.
Details about weapons systems and what technology an enemy would have to create to beat such capabilities could prove harmful to American national security. Benjamin Bishop’s defense contractor position would allegedly not give him access to weapons technology specifics. Concerns about leaked military plans are also reportedly a concern.
Do you think defense contractor Benjamin Bishop’s Chinese national girlfriend might be a spy?