China case wasn't espionage, it was love: Attorney

HONOLULU (AP) - An attorney for a US defence contractor accused of giving military secrets to his Chinese girlfriend said there was no evidence that classified information was given to any foreign country.

Benjamin Bishop, 59, was in love with the 27-year-old student, his attorney Birney Bervar said.

"It's not an espionage case, it's a case about love," Mr Bervar told reporters after a detention hearing on Friday.

The Army Reserve lieutenant colonel was working at the US Pacific Command as a contractor when he was arrested a week ago. Officials have not disclosed the name of the contractor.

Bishop is charged with one count of communicating national defence information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defence documents and plans.

An FBI affidavit alleges that Bishop gave his girlfriend classified information about war plans, nuclear weapons, missile defences and other topics through emails and telephone calls.

The affidavit says he met the woman at an international military conference in Hawaii. They began an intimate relationship in June 2011, when he was working at a Pacific Command office that develops plans to deter potential US adversaries, according to the affidavit and Bishop's LinkedIn profile online.

Mr Bervar said he had not yet been given access to evidence in the case. He said the evidence he has seen so far - the criminal complaint and FBI's affidavit - do not allege that the woman was working for the Chinese government or that the information Bishop gave her was passed to the Chinese government.

The charge of unlawfully retaining national defence documents charge relates to allegations that Bishop improperly kept some classified information at home, authorities said.

Mr Bervar said he spoke to the girlfriend, who has not been named by authorities. US officials also have not said whether they believe she is working for the Chinese government, only that she's living in the US on a student visa. She has not been arrested.

The judge set another hearing for Monday to give the prosecution more time to present more evidence about why Bishop might pose a danger to the community.