Leandro Aragoncillo represents the first proven case of espionage inside the White House. Aragoncillo was born in the Philippines in 1959. The exact date of his birth is unknown. In 1983 he moved to the United States, settling in New Jersey and joining the Marines. In 1999 Bill Clinton was President of the US. Aragoncillo began working in the White House as a security expert, a member of vice-president Al Gore’s staff. In July 2000 the President of the Philippines Joseph Estrada went to Washington on an official visit. A member of Estrada’s delegation, a deputy in the Philippine Parliament, approached Aragoncillo. The two exchanged cards. The following October the deputy contacted Aragoncillo again, offering him a significant amount of money if Aragoncillo would retrieve confidential information regarding US intelligence activity in the Philippines from the White House. Arangoncillo accepted.
On January 20, 2001 George W. Bush became President of the United States. Aragoncillo was confirmed, joining vice-president Dick Cheney’s staff. In the meantime events came to a head in the Philippines: President Estrada was charged with corruption and forced to step down. On January 20, 2001, Gloria Arroyo became president. Aragoncillo started working to help Estrada return to power, collecting compromising information on Gloria Arroyo. He resigned from the Marines, applied to join the FBI and was accepted. His new position gave him free access to the secret information he needed. Aragoncillo’s liaison within the Philippine organization was Michael Ray Aquino, the former chief of Philippine police, who was living in New York. Between 2000 and 2005 Aragoncillo downloaded 101 documents, 37 of which were classified Top Secret, from White House and FBI archives.
Aragoncillo continued to pass information. In March 2005 Arangoncillo’s accomplice, Aquino, was arrested when his visa expired. Aragoncillo tried to stop Aquino’s extradition from the United States. His attempt to stop the extradition looked suspicious. FBI agents investigated Aragoncillo’s access to the database and discovered what he’d been doing. Arrested on September 10, 2005, Aragoncillo pleaded guilty. On July 18, 2007 he was condemned to 10 years in prison for the illegal transfer of information relevant to national security.