Ex-Army analyst from Okla. arrested at Minn. airport trying to board one-way flight to China

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ex-Army analyst from OK arrested at Minn. airport

OKLAHOMA CITY — A former U.S. Army analyst from Oklahoma was arrested in Minneapolis while trying to board a one-way flight to China with electronic files containing a restricted Army field manual, authorities said Friday.

Federal prosecutors said Liangtian Yang, 26, also known as Alfred Yang, of Lawton, Okla., allegedly was carrying multiple data storage devices when he was arrested Thursday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Yang was charged Thursday in Oklahoma City with one count of theft of government property, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. Defense attorney Frederick Goetz of Minneapolis said the charge is a misdemeanor, but declined further comment Friday.

Yang made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn., on Friday. A detention hearing was scheduled for Monday to determine when Yang will be returned to Oklahoma, said Bob Troester, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oklahoma City.

Yang worked as an analyst at Oklahoma’s Fort Sill until Aug. 16, when his clearance was revoked due to security violations, according to an FBI affidavit in the case. The affidavit did not disclose the nature of the violations.

Larry Icenogle, acting public affairs officer at Fort Sill, said the Army had no comment on Yang’s arrest and declined to release further information about him.

During security screening before a Tokyo-bound flight with China as its final destination, authorities found Yang, a Chinese national, was carrying multiple media storage devices that were confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, the affidavit said.

One of the devices contained an Army field manual restricted for use by Department of Defense employees, the document said.

“The subject was not authorized to be in possession of this material, nor was he authorized to have it on his personal computer,” the affidavit said. “Yang was en route to China with no intent to return as demonstrated by a one-way ticket.”

A U.S. Army foreign disclosure officer verified the field manual was not to be released to foreign nationals or stored in personal electronic devices, according to the affidavit.

Associated Press Writer Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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