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FBI video warns of an unexpected hazard of study abroad

Posted by: Maura Lerner Updated: April 14, 2014 - 11:56 AM

If you're thinking about studying abroad, you can add this to your list of worries: A foreign government might try to turn you into a spy.

That's the message in a new video released by the FBI. It dramatizes the tale of Glenn Duffie Shriver, a Michigan college student who went to Shanghai for his junior year abroad, and was eventually recruited by Chinese government officials to apply for jobs with the CIA and State Department. He was caught by the FBI, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Study abroad, according to the FBI, "makes these students tempting and vulnerable targets for recruitment by foreign intelligence officers whose long-term goal is to gain access to sensitive or classified U.S. information. Glenn Shriver -- prodded by foreign intelligence officers into eventually applying for U.S. government jobs -- cited his naivety as a key factor in his actions."

And it all started, according to the FBI, when he answered an English-language ad to write a paper for $120.

The agency said it made the video, "Game of Pawns: The Glenn Duffie Shriver Story" as a cautionary tale. "We’d like American students traveling overseas to view this video before leaving the U.S. so they’re able to recognize when they’re being targeted and/or recruited."

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