Losing Faith in People

Spec. William Colton Millay, a member of the U.S. military, was sentenced on Monday to 16 years after pleading guilty to attempted espionage among other charges.  Millay will be dishonorably discharged for selling secrets to an undercover FBI agent, who was posing to be a Russian spy. “Military prosecutors painted him as a white supremacist who was fed up with the Army and the United States, and was willing to sell secrets to an enemy agent, even if that would cost fellow soldiers their lives.”

Millay unknowingly told an FBI agent he would willingly work for the Russian government, that he would re-enlist for a second five-year term, and that he had confidential information on the Warlock Duke jamming system, which is used by the U.S. military to detect roadside bombs. On Oct. 21, 2011, Millay delivered an envelope in a garbage can containing information about F-22 fighter jets and the jamming system.

At his trial, Millay said, “I know I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’m a U.S. soldier, and that piece of me, I’m proud of.” However, one FBI agent said that according to prison recordings, Millay threatens to continue releasing secrets.

The reason I wanted to post this story was simply because it frustrates me. On the same day of the Boston bombings, the U.S. has to deal with sentencing one of their own soldiers. I struggled to find an international topic to blog about when faced with such demoralizing domestic problems. Millay is attempting to sell information relating to how U.S. troops detect roadside bombs, showing no remorse for U.S. soldiers, or potential innocent victims like those in Boston.

Millay does not care if his fellow soldiers die as a result of him selling information, and he shows no sign of stopping, even in prison. How anyone can serve in the military and then be willing to so blatantly betray their nation is beyond me. Americans trust soldiers like Millay almost more than anyone else. Millay, like a terrorist, attempted to put everyone in the U.S. at risk. Is a 16 a year sentence enough?

To quote a good friend of mine, “With some people it’s like the wheel is spinning, but the hamster is dead.”


Source: Yahoo News


  1. Unfortunately, the line of Americans, including soldiers, willing to betray the United States starts at the beginning with Benedict Arnold. The disillusionment that these people feel is something I will never understand.
    The real international issue, whether its the United States or another country, is how to identify the would-be traitors and prevent them from leaking secrets that could jeopardize innocent civilians. 16 years is not enough time to serve as a deterrent for this behavior, considering the impact it could have on innocent people.
    Patton Oswalt, yes the comedian, wrote an amazing article this week after the Boston bombings, and the final sentence stuck with me: “So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

  2. Pat, I am gripped by this story, and the rest like it, just as you are. Despite the fact that the U.S. Government and Military sometimes manipulate soldiers and the public, there is no excuse for posing as a patriot when you are really a coward. Andrew mentions Benedict Arnold; I simply want to add that in Benedict Arnold’s time treason––which this invariably is––was a hangable offense.

    In fact, the U.S. drone strike killing of Anwar Al-Alwaki, although contested by some as an “extra-judicial” killing, is a prime example of how treason may justify death. Generally, I am not for the death penalty, but when your acts involve deceit, betrayal, and the risk of death to thousands or millions of people, then I am of the school that you are of no use to this world. With that said, however, I do not believe that it is the case that what Millay did rises to that level. Rather, I think that a life in prison would serve him just fine.

  3. I share the views put forth by Patrice, Rocky, and Andrew, in that the behavior and actions on the part of Millay are disgraceful and he should be embarrassed not only as a member of the United States Military, but as an American in general. It is a shame that stories like these come out, when there are plenty of stories of people making so many positive contributions in this world, in particular the US military who give their lives to protect the freedoms that we as citizens have become so accustomed to. I do not think that 16 years in prison is enough and I agree that life in prison is the only appropriate punishment in this case. If Millay had not been caught, who is to say that he would have stopped at providing the Russians with information, perhaps he would have given information to other nations. The amount of citizens that he could have been put in harms way due to his actions does not warrant a mere 16 year prison sentence. A harsher punishment to reprimand Millay and deter this type of behavior in the future is necessary.

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