Shriver Case: A Textbook Case of Recruitment

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Glenn Duffie Shriver seemed like an average college student—majoring in international relations at a college in Michigan and interested in seeing the world. During his junior year (2002-2003), he attended a study abroad program at a school in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China (PRC). He developed an interest in Chinese culture and had considerable proficiency in Mandarin Chinese, so after graduating from college in 2004, he returned to the PRC to continue his language studies and to look for work.

Around October 2004, Shriver — living in Shanghai and financially strapped — responded to an English ad offering to pay individuals to write political papers. A woman named “Amanda” contacted him, met with him several times, and then paid him $120 to write a paper. A few months later, she reached out to Shriver again, saying she thought the paper was good and asked if he’d be interested in meeting her associates. He agreed.

Amanda introduced him to two associates who said they were interested in developing a “friendship” with him and who began suggesting that he consider applying for U.S. government jobs. Eventually, Shriver realized that the men and Amanda were affiliated with the PRC government; nonetheless he agreed to seek a government job. Over the next few years, that’s exactly what he did—receiving a total of $70,000 in exchange for applying for jobs—until his scheme was uncovered and he was arrested by the FBI in 2010. He ultimately pled guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Shriver later admitted in court that his ultimate objective was to get a job with a U.S. government agency that would give him access to classified information, which he would then provide to the PRC officers in return for cash payments.

To a recent college graduate, $70,000 seemed like a lot of money, and the promise of even more was too tempting for Shriver to pass up. What he didn't consider, though, were the long-term costs of his actions, which included, as one FBI investigator put it, “throwing away his education, his career, and his future when he chose to position himself as a spy for the PRC.”

Source: FBI Counterintelligence Division

Student, Spy, Federal Inmate