California tour guide agrees to plead guilty to working as Chinese agent

California tour guide agrees to plead guilty to working as Chinese agent
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A California man reportedly agreed to plead guilty to acting as an unregistered Chinese agent on Monday at a hearing in exchange for the possibility of a lower prison sentence.

The Associated Press reported that Xuehua Edward Peng, who was charged in September by the Justice Department with "delivering classified United States national security information" to Chinese agents, agreed to a plea deal in exchange for four years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

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In the agreement, which Peng reportedly agreed to through a translator, he claimed to not have known the contents of the data storage devices he transported to Chinese agents on six business trips to China between 2015 and 2018.

“I was never informed of the contents of these devices and at no time learned what information was stored on them,” he said, according to the AP.

The information Peng provided is not thought to be a threat to the U.S., as it was reportedly provided to him through a double agent who had alerted the FBI to the scheme.

“The plea speaks for itself,” Peng's attorney told the AP, while declining further comment.

A naturalized citizen since 2012, Peng originally came to the U.S. in 2001, according to the AP. In a statement in September regarding the case, FBI assistant director John Brown issued a direct warning to the Chinese government about spying activities.

"This case should serve as a warning to the government of China as well as any other foreign adversary looking to replicate this activity. The FBI, and our intelligence and law enforcement partners, will not waiver. We will bring all of our resources to bear to defeat hostile foreign intelligence services and protect our nation's security," Brown said at the time.