Ex-State Department employee pleads guilty to conspiring with China
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A former State Department employee pleaded guilty Wednesday to providing Chinese agents with internal U.S. government documents, the Department of Justice announced.

Candace Marie Claiborne, 63, faces a maximum of five years in prison for lying to investigators and hiding her contacts with and gifts from foreign agents, prosecutors said. She entered her guilty plea before Judge Randolph D. Moss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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“Candace Marie Claiborne traded her integrity and non-public information of the United States government in exchange for cash and other gifts from foreign agents she knew worked for the Chinese intelligence service,” said John Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security, in a statement. “She withheld information and lied repeatedly about these contacts."

According to the Justice Department, Claiborne had "repeated contacts" with two agents from the People’s Republic of China Intelligence Service. Prosecutors said she received tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits over five years, including a fully furnished apartment, international travel and vacations and a monthly stipend.

In exchange for the gifts, Claiborne provided China with documents from the State Department that covered subjects including U.S. economic strategies and "visits by dignitaries between the two countries," the Justice Department said.

Claiborne began working as an office management specialist for the Department of State in 1999 and had a top-secret security clearance, according to the plea documents. Her overseas posts included China, Iraq and Sudan.