A former CIA agent was convicted by a jury in Virginia on Friday of giving classified secrets to a Chinese intelligence agent.
Kevin Mallory was found guilty of conspiracy to deliver information, attempted delivery, delivery of defense information to aid a foreign government and making materially false statements.
Mallory traveled to China in March and April of 2017, where he met a man he suspected to be a Chinese intelligence operative, the Justice Department said in a release.
The Washington Post reported that Mallory attempted to convince CIA agents that he was a "triple agent" working to expose the Chinese operation.
The plan failed, and Mallory was arrested after investigators found a concealed micro SD card in his house containing images of the documents he turned over to China.
Mallory faces a maximum penalty of life in prison under the charges.
Assistant Attorney General John Demers said that Mallory's conviction was not an "isolated incident" and that China's spying efforts aimed at the U.S. were ongoing.
“It is a sad day when an American citizen is convicted of spying on behalf of a foreign power,” Demers said in a statement.
“This act of espionage was no isolated incident. The People's Republic of China has made a sophisticated and concerted effort to steal our nation's secrets. Today's conviction demonstrates that we remain vigilant against this threat and hold accountable all those who put the United States at risk through espionage.”
Mallory's conviction follows news reports in April that the Trump administration was being confronted by an increased effort by Chinese spies to penetrate the networks of U.S. businesses.