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US tags Aragoncillo as White House spy
Federal investigators in the United States on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) revealed they may have evidence that Philippine-born Leandro Aragoncillo, recently charged with conspiracy to commit espionage, may have used his high-level clearance to steal classified information from the White House.
In a report posted in the news website of ABC News, correspondents Brian Ross and Richard Esposito, cited information from federal investigators on how Aragoncillo breached White House security using his top secret clearance as a US Marine.
Aragoncillo, formerly assigned to the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, has been tagged as the "spy who worked undetected in the White House for three years."
The ABC report quoted officials as saying that Aragoncillo pilfered classified information from Cheney's office, including documents that damage the reputation of Philippine President Gloria Arroyo.
Officials further stated that Aragoncillo sent the information through electronic mail (e-mail) to opposition leaders who were then planning to stage a coup in the Philippines.
The naturalized American worked at the White House from 2000, initially in the office of then-Vice-President Al Gore.
He was discharged from the Marines in 2004 and hired by the FBI as an intelligence analyst at the US Army's Fort Monmouth facility in New Jersey.
Aragoncillo was arrested last month by FBI agents for allegedly passing classified information to Michael Ray Aquino, a former Philippine National Police senior superintendent. Both are now in jail awaiting trial.