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Alaska-based soldier sentenced to 16 years for attempted espionage

Jerzy Shedlock
An Alaska-based military policeman was sentenced to 16 years in prison and will be dishonorably discharged for attempting to sell military secrets to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian spy.
Department of Defense photo

An Alaska-based military policeman arrested on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in October 2011 was sentenced Monday to 16 years in prison and will be dishonorably discharged for attempting to sell military secrets to an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent posing as a Russian spy.

A panel of eight Army officers originally sentenced William Colton Millay, 24, to 19 years, but due to a pretrial agreement Millay will receive credit for 535 days spent incarcerated prior to the military trial.

On March 19, Millay pleaded guilty before a military judge in Anchorage to attempted espionage, failing to obey regulations, issuing a false official statement, soliciting espionage from another soldier and communicating national defense information, according to a U.S. Army press release.

During the sentencing, military prosecutors argued Millay was a white supremacist fed up with the Army and the United States, according to the Associated Press.

Special Agent Derrick Chriswell said Millay caught the attention of the FBI in summer 2011 after Millay sent an email to a Russian publication seeking information about the military. He also made several calls to the Russian embassy, the AP reported.

Millay met with the undercover FBI agent at an Anchorage hotel restaurant on Sept. 13, 2011, during which the former military policeman spoke of his disgust for the U.S. military. He was recorded when the conversation moved into the agent’s hotel room. Millay said he’d work for the Russian government for the right price and offered confidential information about the "Warlock Duke" jamming system, which the Army uses to remove roadside bombs. According to prosecutors, on Oct. 21, 2011, Millay dropped a white envelope into a trash can that contained information about the jamming system, the AP reported.

The envelope also contained information on the F-22 stealth fighter jet, a fleet of jets that sat on the sidelines after the U.S. Air Force indefinitely grounded them in May 2011 due to oxygen deprivation issues, believed to have contributed to the training death of an Alaska-based F-22 pilot, Air Force Capt. Jeff Haney. The oxygen problems were fixed and the jets resumed alert missions over Alaska just two weeks ago.

Millay was arrested at JBER a week after his meeting with the undercover agent. A search of Millay’s barracks found instructions on how to use a Russian Internet phone service, white supremacist reading materials and two handguns. He was charged with failing to obey regulations for keeping the handguns in his barracks.

Millay’s defense attorneys described the 24-year-old man as emotionally stunted, the AP reported. A psychiatrist testifying on the defense’s behalf said Millay had the emotional aptitude of a 5-year-old and suffers from low self-esteem, mild depression, alcoholism and narcissism.

The eight-officer panel reduced Millay’s rank to private and he will forfeit all pay and allowances. And while the defense argued for a sentence of eight years, and he ultimately was sentenced to 16, Millay was facing a maximum sentence of confinement for up to life without the possibility of parole, according the Army’s press release.

Contact Jerzy Shedlock at jerzy(at)alaskadipatch.com