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FBI Spy Leandro Aragoncillo Passed Polygraph
Sep 13th, 2005 at 10:52am
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UPDATE: Former FBI intelligence analyst Leandro Aragoncillo on Thursday, 4 May 2006 pled guilty to spying while assigned as a Marine to the Office of the Vice President. His espionage continued during his employment by the FBI. Aragoncillo passed an FBI pre-employment polygraph examination that included a question about unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

The Associated Press reports that FBI intelligence analyst Leandro Aragoncillo has been arrested on espionage charges. Having been hired in 2004, he would have had to pass an FBI pre-employment polygraph examination. In addition, as an intelligence analyst, Aragoncillo would have been subject to counterintelligence-scope polygraph screening post-hire. Assuming the allegations against Aragoncillo are true, if he intended to commit espionage before being hired, the polygraph did not detect it, and it certainly did not deter it after he was hired.

Quote:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050912/ap_on_re_us/espionage_arrests

FBI Intel Analyst Charged With Spying

By JEFFREY GOLD, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 12, 7:55 PM ET

NEWARK, N.J. - An
FBI intelligence analyst with top secret clearance was charged Monday with passing classified information about Filipino leaders to current and former officials of that nation.

The analyst, Leandro Aragoncillo, sent some of the material to Michael Ray Aquino, a former deputy director of the Philippines National Police who lives in New York City, according to an FBI complaint made public Monday.

Both men were arrested Saturday at their homes.

Aragoncillo, 46, of Woodbury, was hired to work at the Army's Fort Monmouth in July 2004 and began sending classified information and documents in January, according to the complaint.

From May to Aug. 15, Aragoncillo printed or downloaded 101 classified documents relating to the Philippines, of which 37 were classified "secret," the complaint said. Details of the documents' contents were not disclosed in court papers or in court.

U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said there was no evidence that the administration of Philippine President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was involved, but he would not say if the suspects were in contact with opposition factions. The Asian nation has been beset by persistent coup rumors since Arroyo was accused of rigging last year's elections.

Aquino is not related to former Philippine President Corazon Aquino.

Aragoncillo, a Marine for 21 years, and Aquino were ordered held without bail following an appearance before a federal magistrate.

After his arrest, Aragoncillo "essentially admitted that he took classified information," Assistant U.S. Attorney Karl H. Buch told the magistrate.

Aragoncillo, a Filipino who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was suspended by the FBI on Monday. Leslie Wiser Jr., the special agent in charge of the FBI's New Jersey operations, said it was "disheartening" that one of the agency's workers faces such charges.

Christie would not say what motivated the suspects. In court, Buch said that Aragoncillo had $500,000 in debts and that Aquino had been investigated in the Philippines in connection with a conspiracy to murder two people.

The investigation began after Aquino, 39, was arrested in March, accused of overstaying the tourist visa he used to enter the country in July 2001.

The defendants face a charge of conspiracy and a charge of acting as unregistered foreign agents, the latter of which carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine. Aragoncillo also was charged with unauthorized use of a government computer, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine.

Both men were represented Monday by federal public defenders.
« Last Edit: May 5th, 2006 at 8:03am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #1 - Sep 13th, 2005 at 12:47pm
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A news release by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey is available here:

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nj/publicaffairs/NJ_Press/files/arag0912_r.htm

A copy of the criminal complaint is available here:

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nj/publicaffairs/NJ_Press/files/pdffiles/aragcomplaint...
  

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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #2 - Sep 13th, 2005 at 2:08pm
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Dear George.

I beleive that my comments about supply and demand might have affected the decision to hire this analyst.  The FBI is in dire need or analyst and Congress is hammering them every chance they get.  Politically, the Director has placed much emphasis on pushing these people through in a timely manner in a system not capable of handling the load.

After 21 years of honorable service in the Marines, I am afraid that the mindset and political pressure was to pass this individual despite any redflags that would normally stop or possibly disqualify an applicant.  I am sure you will not see his clearance application because if I was the Director, any glaring deficiences would be embarrassing.  In some cases, due to overload of applicants, the FBI itself performs the background investigations and if this is one of them it would be highly embarassing.

Regards.
  
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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #3 - Sep 13th, 2005 at 2:44pm
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Fair Chance,

The FBI could hire more intelligence analysts if it would simply heed the National Academy of Sciences and end its asinine reliance on polygraph screening. The FBI and other federal agencies are needlessly losing many qualified and honest applicants simply because the polygraph wrongly brands them as liars. Owing to their belief in the pseudoscience of polygraphy, these agencies are no doubt shortchanging traditional background investigations in the process, too.
  

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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #4 - Sep 13th, 2005 at 3:44pm
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George,

You are preaching to the choir.  My opinion on usage of pre-screening polygraph in the FBI process has been consistant and clear from my first post: it is a "good-ole-boy" behind closed doors and avoid legal hiring practices method of selecting staff.  Pre-screening polygraph is unreliable and very costly in terms of people's reputation and agency money wasted.

I wanted to convey in my last post, and maybe I was not pointed enough, that the political pressure from the Director turned an unreliable and invalid method of knowing the truth into a "he passed" let's get him hired quickly with a less robust background check because they give the benefit of a doubt to the pre-screening polygraph.


Regards.
  
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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #5 - Sep 16th, 2005 at 9:07pm
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I have enjoyed reading these posts.  I received a conditional offer of employment for an IA position on  June 23.  I'm still pending.  I was fortunate enough to pass the polygraph a couple of days ago.  But as others have said on this board, although I passed, the examiner did try to get me to make a confession at the end. 

But I'm glad it is over.  The biggest concern I have is in not knowing what's next.  When I received the conditional offer, I was told that a final decision would be made anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months.  Well we are nearing the 3 month mark so I would presume that by the end of the month, based on that estimate, I should be getting that phone call or letter one way or another. 

Does this timeline seem pretty much on target?  What comes next in the process?

Thanks
  
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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #6 - Sep 16th, 2005 at 10:48pm
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Dear willboywonder,

This subject is drifting away from the original topic but since you stated you applied for an IA position, the readers might allow me a little lattitude.

I believe the three weeks to six-months statement is moot because you stated that you just "passed the polygraph (don't jump on me readers, I am not trying to give the polygraph credibility by this statement) a few days ago."  The background investigation is rarely started until you pass the urinalysis and polygraph.  I would predict, barring any overseas travel, bad credit, psychological problems, etc, that your decision will be made at the rate of one month of FBI investigation for every five years of life investigated.  If you are thirty-five, the FBI goes back to 16 years of age for your paperwork even though a top secret clearance normally only goes back ten years.  This would be almost twenty years of investigation and take four months.

If you are only 26 years old, this would take two months.

Don't throw darts at me if I am not exactly accurate but I am trying to give you at least some information about how long it would take.

Regards.
  
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Leandro Aragoncillo Passed Polygraph
Reply #7 - Oct 6th, 2005 at 8:09am
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ABC News reports that former FBI intelligence analyst Leandro Aragoncillo began spying well before his employment with the Bureau. (See, "Espionage Case Breaches the White House.") Before hiring, all FBI applicants are required to submit to a pre-employment polygraph examination that includes, among others, the following questions:

  • Do you know anyone who is engaged in espionage or sabotage against the United States?
  • Have you intentionally mishandled any classified information?
  • Have you had any unauthorized foreign contacts?

Aragoncillo, who has allegedly admitted to spying while still a U.S. marine assigned to the office of the Vice President, would have necessarily answered all three of the above questions falsely on his FBI pre-employment polygraph, but passed nonetheless. Moreover, his passing score would have been endorsed by the FBI HQ polygraph unit in Washington, DC, which performs "quality control" for all such examinations. This cannot be written off as the simple failure of a single polygraph examiner. Rather, it is the completely foreseeable failure of a procedure that the National Academy of Sciences confirms has no scientific basis.

Here we have yet another glaring failure of the polygraph to detect or deter espionage. Other spies who have passed the polygraph while lying about relevant issues include:

« Last Edit: Oct 8th, 2005 at 10:58am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #8 - Oct 6th, 2005 at 10:25pm
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George,

It just warms my heart, (sarcasm on), to know that the all knowing feds allowed this person to be on the payroll for years, all the while he was playing them for fools.

Once again, the vaunted FBI allows a passed polygraph to screw up our security.

(sarcasm off)
  
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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #9 - Oct 7th, 2005 at 3:31am
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From ABC News ( http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1190375&page=1 ) ...

"Officials say Aragoncillo passed several lie detector tests that are routinely given to individuals with top secret clearances. When he started to work as an FBI analyst at Fort Monmouth, N.J., last year, they say he was put on a fast-track hiring plan based on his connections at the White House."

To the FBI -- thanks guys!! You FUCKERS failed me on my polygraph when I applied to be an Intelligence Analyst and let this treasonous scumbag have the job instead? You challenged my honesty and let this lying asshole waltz right in? You wanna explain that to me?

I think I speak for most other Intelligence Analyst candidates who were rejected on the worthless grounds that our poly results were unsatisfactory. I think we're absolutely justified in our indignation.

The FBI's faith in and reliance upon the polygraph make them complicit in the espionage carried out by this individual.

The next time, the spying might involve more than just the internal political bickerings of a small-fish ally like the Philippines. It could involve the fate and control of nuclear weapons inside a major, and importantly erstwhile, ally like Pakistan.

When will the Bureau learn? What will it take for them to learn?
  
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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #10 - Oct 7th, 2005 at 10:47pm
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While I am revulsed by the treasonous actions of this man, it is the high price paid to illustrate to the public and to Congress the consequences of polygraph-mired security policies. Civil and scientific discourse have done little to motivate the government to abolish polygraphs; not even the NAS study, which the goverment paid for, was enough. Most tragically, it appears that only catastrophic intelligence calamities are sufficient to force Congress to revisit the details of security policies.

Though, one solution would definitely force lawmakers to take a serious look at the polygraph: make a law mandating that each member of Congress pass a lifestyle & CI polygraph before they may begin serving their terms, with the examiner in no way beholden to Congress. With Congress people's personal careers and livelihoods on the line, the danger posed by the polygraph would no longer be an academic or far-removed policy debate, but rather a very personal problem.

One need only look back a couple of years to when "it was suggested" that the members of the senate intelligence committee submit to polygraphs regarding an intelligence leak. They roundly refused. They knew full well they ran the risk of very personally damaging false positives. Congress currently has the extreme luxury of refusing to take polygraphs with impunity. No wonder they do little to change polygraph policy -- they can't relate one bit to the dangers of relying on polygraph results. If they could, I suspect sweeping changes to polygraph policy would occur in a matter of weeks.

Indeed, for those of us who have suffered a personal loss as a result of the polygraph, it is nothing short of maddening to watch Congress just stare and nod to fallacious testimony on the polygraph being effective. Nothing much will happen until either they are forced to deal with it personally, or another polygraph-aided intelligence calamity befalls us all.
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Re: FBI Intelligence Analyst Charged With Spying
Reply #11 - Oct 8th, 2005 at 9:39am
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Although they do not address polygraph screening, for informed commentary on rampant dysfunctionality, incompetence, and corruption in the FBI, see " FBI Penetrated; Again!" by Sibel Edmonds and John M. Cole.
  

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Re: FBI Spy Leandro Aragoncillo Passed Polygraph
Reply #12 - May 5th, 2006 at 8:07am
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Yesterday, former FBI analyst Leandro Aragoncillo, who passed his pre-employment polygraph despite being a spy for a Philippine cabal, pled guilty to the espionage charges against him.

Quote:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/05/04/spy.case/index.html

Ex-VP aide, FBI analyst admits spying
Former Marine pleads guilty to taking part in Philippine coup plot

From Julian Cummings
CNN

NEWARK, New Jersey (CNN) -- A former vice presidential military aide and FBI analyst pleaded guilty Thursday to supplying documents to unnamed individuals in the Philippines on how to orchestrate a coup attempt against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In a federal court hearing in Newark, New Jersey, Leandro Aragoncillo entered into a plea agreement that would keep the death penalty off the table for him.

Aragoncillo, a former U.S. Marine, acknowledged to prosecutors that he supplied top secret U.S. defense information -- which he wasn't authorized to obtain -- to officials in the Philippines. The officials were not named.

However, he implicated Michael Aquino, a former official with the Philippines National Police. The two were arrested together in September 2005.

Aquino was charged with taking classified documents obtained from Aragoncillo and passing them on to unnamed Philippine officials.

Aquino's lawyer, Marc Berman, has said that his client was unaware that the documents received were classified and that no markings on them indicated so. He has entered a plea of not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Aragoncillo, 47, pleaded guilty to all four counts brought against him. The first two counts, conspiracy to transmit defense information and transmission of defense information, carry a maximum penalty of death.

As a part of the plea agreement, both parties agreed that the crimes committed do not meet the criteria to seek the death penalty.

"We're fortunate that no physical harm was brought to anyone because of this, and that's part of the reason we did not seek the death penalty on counts one and two," said U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie outside a New Jersey courthouse.

The other two counts against Aragoncillo -- unlawful retention of defense information and unlawful use of a government computer -- carry a maximum sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Prosecutors said the guidelines set by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls would call for a sentence of 15-24 years in prison. Sentencing for Aragoncillo is scheduled for August 14.

"Mr. Aragoncillo faces significant time in federal prison, and rightfully so," Christie said.

Aragoncillo worked as a military aide to two vice presidents -- Al Gore and Dick Cheney.

Prosecutors said Aragoncillo, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in the Philippines, admitted removing classified information from the vice president's office between about October 2000 and February 2002.

Aragoncillo also acknowledged his espionage activity continued while he was an FBI analyst in New Jersey, where he worked at the time of his arrest, prosecutors said.
  

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Re: FBI Spy Leandro Aragoncillo Passed Polygraph
Reply #13 - May 5th, 2006 at 11:32am
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Here is the full text of a U.S. Department of Justice press release on the Aragoncillo plea deal. Note that among Aragoncillo's admissions is that he sought FBI employment "to gain access to classified documents and information that would be useful to his co-conspirators":

Quote:
05-04-06 -- Aragoncillo, Leandro -- Guilty Plea -- News Release
     

Former Marine and FBI Analyst Pleads Guilty to Espionage; Admits Transferring Classified Information to Assist in Overthrow of Philippines Government

NEWARK, N.J. – A former Marine who worked at times under two administrations in the Office of the Vice President of the United States pleaded guilty today to espionage and other charges, admitting that he took and transferred classified information, including national defense documents, to senior political and government officials of the Republic of the Philippines in an attempt to destabilize and overthrow that country’s government, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Leandro Aragoncillo, 47, admitted that he regularly transferred to his Philippine contacts national security documents classified as Secret, and that the information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation. He also admitted traveling to the Philippines in January 2001 to meet his co-conspirators, including during a visit to the Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the president of the Philippines.

Aragoncillo also admitted that some of the classified information he removed from of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) between approximately October 2000 and February 2002 included information marked Top Secret that related to terrorist threats to United States government interests in the Republic of the Philippines (ROP).

Aragoncillo, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in the Philippines and most recently of Woodbury, N.J., was an FBI intelligence analyst at Fort Monmouth, N.J. at the time of his arrest on Sept. 10, 2005. He admitted today that his espionage activity continued during his time as an FBI analyst.

“Aragoncillo took the most solemn of oaths as a U.S. Marine and FBI analyst to protect his country and its security,” said Christie. “His betrayal is profound and a disservice to his country and all the men and women in military and security positions around the globe who take the oath and serve with honor and integrity.”

Also arrested last September was Michael Ray Aquino, a former Philippines National Police official, who was among those who Aragoncillo is alleged to have passed classified information. Aragoncillo specifically identified Aquino today as a co-conspirator in the transfer of classified documents and information.

Aquino, who remains in federal custody, was indicted on Oct. 6, 2005 and charged with conspiring in the passing of classified information to current and former officials in the Philippines.

Aquino awaits trial. No date has been scheduled for Aquino’s trial due to extensive pretrial discovery.

Aragoncillo pleaded guilty to four counts of an Indictment returned this morning by a federal grand jury. Count One charged him with Conspiracy to Transmit National Defense Information; Count Two charged him with Transmission of National Defense Information. The maximum penalty for both of those crimes is death under certain circumstances – including the transfer of secrets that result in the death of an intelligence source – that are not present in the case of Aragoncillo. Consequently, the maximum statutory penalty on those counts for Aragoncillo is any term of years up to life in prison.

Count Three charges Aragoncillo with Unlawful Retention of National Defense Information, and Count Four charges him with Unlawful Use of a Government Computer, both of which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

In the Indictment and during his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls, Aragoncillo’s co-conspirators were identified as Executive Branch Official #1, a senior member of the executive branch of the ROP from June 1998 through January 2001; Senator #1, who has served in the Philippine Senate since June 2001 and was formerly the head of the Philippines National Police; Representative #1, who served in the Philippines House of Representatives between about 1998 and 2001 and again in 2004; Representative #2, who served in the Philippines House of Representatives between 1992 and 2001, and again in 2004; Mayor #1, who is a mayor of one of the municipalities located near Metro Manila; and Aquino.

Aragoncillo admitted his contacts began on July 27, 2000, when a delegation of public officials from the Philippines – including Executive Branch Official #1 and Representative #1 – met with the President of the United States at the White House. Aragoncillo was then a staff assistant to the Vice President’s Military Advisors and possessed a Top Secret security clearance.

Aragoncillo said that Representative #1 contacted him in or about October 2000, and requested information about the U.S. government’s views about the Philippines. Aragoncillo stated that Representative #1 appealed to his sense of loyalty to the Philippines and its people in requesting the information. As a result of Representative #1's appeals, Aragoncillo agreed to begin supplying Representative #1 with national security-classified documents and information.

From that time forward, and continuing through his service with the OVP and the FBI, Aragoncillo admitted to gathering and providing classified documents and information to Executive Official #1, Senator #1, and the other co-conspirators.

Aragoncillo also admitted that in telephone, e-mail and text message exchanges with Senator #1, he advised that the information he was transferring would be useful in assisting Senator #1 and his associates in their attempts to destabilize and overthrow the president and government of the Philippines. In one telephone conversation, for example, Aragoncillo admitted that he told Senator #1 that the documents were like a “blueprint” on how to engineer a coup. In response, Aragoncillo said that Senator #1 told him that the document was “a good reference” and that Senator #1 “would print it because we are preparing something like this.”

Among other specific admissions by Aragoncillo:

• That on Jan. 12, 2001, he met Executive Branch Official #1 at the Malacanang Palace.

• That on June 1, 2001, he gathered classified “Situation Reports” from the OVP, and transmitted them to Representative #1.

• That on April 17, 2001, and Jan. 29 and Feb. 6, 2002, he gathered documents classified “Top Secret” and “Secret,” respectively, containing national defense information relating to terrorist threats to U.S. government interests in the ROP and exercises involving the U.S. military in the Philippines.

• That he sought positions with the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency, to gain access to classified documents and information that would be useful to his co-conspirators.

• That beginning in September 2004, he began gathering classified documents from FBI computers located at Fort Monmouth relating to the ROP, and thereafter he transmitted classified documents and information to his co-conspirators until his arrest on September 10, 2005.

• That from approximately January to April 2005, he transmitted by e-mail approximately 30 documents classified “Secret” and “Confidential” to Senator #1 and Aquino, including documents containing national defense information.

• That on Feb. 28 and Aug. 4, 2005, and on other occasions, he transmitted documents to his contacts containing classified information about confidential intelligence sources of the U.S. government.

• That approximately two weeks before his arrest, on Aug. 25, 2005, he sought to return to his position as a Staff Assistant in the OVP.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leslie Wiser, Jr., in Newark, for their investigation of the espionage case.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karl H. Buch and Michael Buchanan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division, and Clifford I. Rones, Senior Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice in Washington.

-end-
« Last Edit: May 5th, 2006 at 11:55am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: FBI Spy Leandro Aragoncillo Passed Polygraph
Reply #14 - Oct 4th, 2007 at 5:46am
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The unclassified summary of a report by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General on the FBI's implementation of policy recommendations for improving security in the aftermath of the Robert Hanssen espionage case includes (at pp. 30-41) a section detailing the Leandro Aragoncillo espionage case.

Regarding Aragoncillo's FBI pre-employment polygraph examination, the report notes, without further comment:

Quote:
Aragoncillo was given a polygraph examination on April 26,2004. Aragoncillo was asked, among other questions, whether he had ever disclosed classified information to an unauthorized person. Aragoncillo answered "no" to this and the other questions. According to FBI records, the examination found no indications of deception.


The report, "A Review of the FBI's Progress in Responding to the Recommendations inthe Office of the Inspector General Report on Robert Hanssen," is attached as a 2.8 mb PDF file. AntiPolygraph.org has modified the Justice Department's original scanned PDF file to make it word-searchable.
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: maschke@antipolygraph.org
Wire: @georgemaschke
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Postal mail: Van Trigtstraat 53, 2597 VX The Hague, The Netherlands
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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