Houstonian Gregory Blackard found love, or at least sex, in Beijing. He met a Chinese woman and had an intense, intimate, secret relationship for more than two years.
The problem was that he was a contractor helping to build the new American Embassy there, and his high-level security clearance required him to report any relationships with the locals.
Instead, he and the woman "used various methods to prevent the discovery of their relationship including the use of different entrances to his apartment, different meeting places, non-use of cellular telephones or text messaging (because they create a record), avoiding places where westerners might congregate, and constantly were on the lookout for evidence the Department of State Personnel Security Services could possibly use against them."
There's a movie in this somewhere, you're probably thinking.
But if there is Blackard won't be seeing it anytime soon -- he's facing up to five years in prison.
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Blackard, 37, pled guilty this morning before U.S. District Judge David Hittner to making false statements to federal agents in order to cover up his illicit affair.
"Just like sworn federal employees, those entrusted with contract employment on sensitive government matters are aware of their obligations to be completely forthright in all matters at all times," said FBI agent Andrew Bland, who obviously has no love in his heart.
The Chinese national involved in the affair was an un-indicted co-conspirator, so she didn't have to appear in court to testify whether she was acting out of true love for either a) Blackard, or b) the espionage agencies of the Chinese government.
-- Richard Connelly