How does Chinese espionage work? One illustrative case is recounted in court documents leading up to the guilty plea last week of 28-year-old Glenn Duffie Shriver of Detroit, Michigan.

The story began when Shriver, who is proficient in Mandarin, was living in China after graduating from college.

“In and around October 2004,” reads the statement of facts,

SHRIVER was living in Shanghai when he responded to an advertisement in English offering to pay persons with a background in East Asian studies to write a political paper. A woman named “Amanda” contacted him, met with him in person several times, and then paid him $120 for the paper. The subject of the requested papers was U.S.-PRC relations regarding North Korea and Taiwan. A few months later, “Amanda” communicated with SHRIVER and told him the paper was good. She asked if he would be interested in meeting some other people and SHRIVER agreed to do so. Eventually, “Amanda” introduced him to “Mr. Wu” and “Mr. Tang.”

Shriver’s new friends eventually persuaded him to try to get a position in the United States where he would have access to classified information. He took the Foreign Service Officer test twice and flunked both times. He then applied to the National Clandestine Service of the CIA and got far along in the process, until he was told to report for “final employment processing activities.”

It is unclear from the court documents exactly how he was caught, but perhaps the CIA screening tripped up his plans. More details are available in the statement of facts. (Hat tip: Robert Chesney’s National Security Listserv.)

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