With his lawyer claiming he was only trying to help the Phillipino people, former FBI intelligence analyst Leandro Aragoncillo, 47, pled guilty to
charges of passing sensitive US national security documents to individuals working to depose Phillipine President Gloria Arroyo. Aragoncillo avoided
the possibility of being sentenced to death by accepting a plea deal that will send him to prison for 15 to 20 years. His co-conspirator, Michael
Aquino, thought to have been the conduit for the information delivered to political opposition figures in the Phillipines, claims he didn't know the
information Aragoncillo provided him with was classified.
A former FBI intelligence analyst admitted that for five years he passed classified information gleaned from White House and FBI computers to
conspirators he said were trying to overthrow Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Leandro Aragoncillo, 47, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the Philippines, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges in a four-count indictment.
The most serious charge, conspiracy to transmit national defense information, can carry the death penalty. But under a plea agreement, Aragoncillo
faces 15 to 20 years in prison.
"It was information that had the potential to compromise U.S. national security," said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie.
Aragoncillo, a former Marine, worked as a military aide to vice presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney starting in 1999. After retiring from the Marines,
he became a civilian employee of the FBI, working at Fort Monmouth in central New Jersey.
He was arrested in September, along with Michael Ray Aquino, a former Philippine police official who is accused of passing information from
Aragoncillo about Filipino leaders to current and former political officials in the Philippines.
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Sad to see a former Marine betray the puiblic trust like this. He took an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution, then turned around and
gave national security information to a foreign country. Regardless of the fact it was his country of origin, divided loyalties have no place in
sensitive positions such as the one he held.
The fact that he was able to get away with it for five years, using e-mail, fax, and telephone to pass information from White House and FBI computers,
bothers me. Where are the controls, the oversight, the systems in place to keep this from happening? Who is watching the watchers?