A Michigan man convicted of espionage-like activities against the U.S., which started when he was a college student studying abroad in China, is now warning other students of the price they can pay if they give in to the lure of money and friendship that might come from other countries.
Glenn Duffie Shriver, now 32 years old, studied in Shanghai in 2002 and 2003. It was there that he said he was lured in with money and the guise of friendship. Shriver was arrested in 2010 by the FBI, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit espionage and is now in prison serving out his four-year sentence.
“We would meet, talk for a while, and the strong majority of the talk was harmless,” Shriver said in his interview with the FBI for its “Don’t be a Pawn” video.
“The biggest thing was how friendly they were. It was just, ‘hey, no problem, you want some money, it’s OK. We just want to be friendly with you, you know, we’re friends. It’s important for China and America to have strong relations,’” he continued.
Shriver admitted that the motivation for him to agree to engage in such activities was “greed and money.”
“The recruitment is going on,” Shriver warned. “Don’t fool yourself. The recruitment is active. The target is young people, throw lots of money at them, see what happens.”
While Shriver said he was told by his contacts in China at the time that they weren’t looking for any illegal information, “once they got you on camera taking that money, whatever happens is they’ve got you.”
From his own experience, Shriver said he learned how protected Americans are in their own country.
“It’s a dangerous world out there, and once you get out of America you don’t understand exactly what this country does for you to protect you and to keep that type of behavior away from you,” Shriver said. “We live in a very sheltered society.”
Shriver’s definition of espionage is when someone “takes the highest level of trust and betrays that.”
For his future, Shriver said that he will forever be associated with espionage.
“It’s a moniker that I’ll fight for the rest of my life, but that’s something I’ve done. It’s part of my life,” he said. “I’ll never be able to change that.
“I’ll never be able to work for the U.S. government, probably a lot of the major businesses will not be interested in hiring me. There are definitely a lot of negative effects associated with being a felon and the stigma I’m going to have to beat down,” he said.
Watch Shriver’s interview with the FBI:
According to the FBI’s blog, it is increasing its efforts to educate study abroad students about the dangers of espionage activity — both knowing and unknowing.