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Yet Another American Caught Spying for China

It is an epidemic, only no one will admit that. Mr. Hansen’s charges are found here.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former officer with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency was arrested over the weekend for allegedly trying to spy on the United States for China, the Justice Department said on Monday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation took Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, into custody on Saturday while he was on his way to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to get a connecting flight to China.

The department said he has been accused of trying to transmit national defense information to China and with receiving “hundreds of thousands of dollars” while acting illegally as an agent for the Chinese government.

Reuters could not immediately learn who may be representing Hansen in the case.

Hansen is the latest person in a string of former U.S. intelligence officers to be swept up in criminal probes related to spying for the Chinese.

Earlier this year, former CIA case officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee was indicted for conspiring to gather or deliver national defense information to China.

Another former U.S. intelligence employee named Kevin Mallory is on trial in Virginia, also in connection with selling secrets to China.

In the new case announced Monday, prosecutors said that Hansen speaks fluent Mandarin-Chinese and Russian.

He served as a case officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency while on active military duty from 2000-2006, and later continued that line of work as a civilian employee and a contractor.

He also held a top secret clearance for years.

The government said that between 2013 and 2017, he traveled between the two countries attending conferences and provided the information he learned to China’s intelligence service.

He was paid via wire transfers, cash and credit cards. He also allegedly improperly sold export-controlled technology.

“His alleged actions are a betrayal of our nation’s security and the American people and are an affront to his former intelligence community colleagues,” said John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

According to court records, the FBI started investigating his activities in 2014. He was unaware of the probe, and participated in nine voluntary meetings with federal agents in Salt Lake City. Utah.

Prosecutors say that during his meetings, he told the FBI that Chinese intelligence had tried to recruit him, offered to cooperate as a source and even provided thumb drives to the FBI that contained classified materials he was not authorized to have.

Hansen appeared before a magistrate judge in Seattle on Monday, and is charged in a 15-count complaint.

Mr Hansen, who lives in Syracuse, Utah, was charged with attempting to gather or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government.

Other charges – there are 15 in total – include acting as an unregistered foreign agent for China, bulk cash smuggling, structuring monetary transactions and smuggling goods from the US.

*** Now, about those phones and Kevin Mallory:

The phone the Chinese intelligence operatives gave Kevin Mallory was a specialized spy gadget. If it had worked like it was supposed to, he might be a free man today.

The former CIA officer, on trial in Alexandria federal court on espionage charges, freely told his old colleagues that he had been approached by those spies on social media in February of 2017. He said he had been invited on two trips to China and given a Samsung Galaxy phone with special encryption capabilities.

What he didn’t tell his U.S. intelligence contacts, and, according to prosecutors, what he thought they would never learn, was that he also traded classified documents to the Chinese agents in exchange for $25,000.

Mallory, a 61-year-old from Leesburg, Va., who also served in the Defense Intelligence Agency, State Department and U.S. Army, was arrested last spring. While prosecutors say he was selling secrets, he contends he was trying to expose the Chinese spies. Whatever jurors decide, the veteran intelligence operative’s trial is offering a glimpse into some of the inner workings of both Chinese espionage and American attempts to counter it.

It’s “very rare” for a foreign intelligence service’s device “to be revealed like that,” FBI agent Paul Lee testified on Thursday. The phone would have cost the Chinese government a lot of money to develop, he had told Mallory last year.

Mallory explained in meetings with the CIA and FBI, which were recorded and played for the jury, that the phone contained an app designed to facilitate steganography, or the hiding of information inside of an image. Documents were merged into a file that appeared as an image — in this case, the Chinese chose horses grazing in front of a mountain range.

To send the files through the secure version of the app, which was a customized version of the Chinese messaging service WeChat, both parties had to be online and type in a password. (The one built into the application, Mallory told the officials, was the word “password,” in English.)

Mallory told the FBI that the Chinese spies told him they had found a “special way” to make the app safer.

But their system was flawed. James Hamrock, an engineer who analyzed the phone for the FBI, said he believes the encrypted application crashed at one point, creating an unintentional log of Mallory’s communications with one of the Chinese spies.

See the full story here.

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