The idea of committing espionage began taking shape in Brian Regan’s mind through the early months of 1999 as he found himself in the vortex of a perfect storm created by the continuing humiliations at work, the worsening of his financial situation and the growing rift in his marriage. From the average evaluations he had been getting, he knew he wasn’t going to be promoted any time soon. The Air Force wanted to transfer him to Europe but Regan wasn’t willing to move because of the disruption it would cause to his family. When the Air Force turned down his request to defer overseas deployment, he had to choose between accepting the transfer and retiring a year later, on Aug. 31, 2000, when he would complete 20 years of service. Grudgingly, he opted for the latter.
With the clock ticking toward retirement, Regan’s anxieties about the future transformed into a rising sense of panic. Because of the narrow scope of the work he’d been doing at the National Reconnaissance Office (the spy agency responsible for managing the nation’s spy satellites), he wasn’t sure he would be able to find a well-paying job in industry, certainly not with the ease that his co-workers expected to. Clutching at straws, Regan finally saw a way out of this insecurity.
He would cash in on the nation’s secrets.