Ex-US intel officer sentenced to 10 years for attempting to give classified information to China

Ex-US intel officer sentenced to 10 years for attempting to give classified information to China
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A former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer who pleaded guilty to providing U.S. national defense intelligence to China was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson sentenced Ron Rockwell Hansen, 60, for attempted espionage after he pleaded guilty in March, a DOJ release said.

Hansen was provided with hundreds of thousands of dollars to pass the information to the Chinese government.

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Hansen was the third former U.S. intelligence officer recently convicted for working illegally with the Chinese government, the release said. Former CIA agent Kevin Patrick Mallory was sentenced to 20 years, and former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee still needs to receive his sentencing, Reuters reported.

U.S. Attorney John W. Huber for the District of Utah said in the release that the pattern of the Chinese government to seek intelligence community officials for information is "troubling."

"These individuals must remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity," Huber said. "The Hansen case is an example of what will happen to those who violate the public’s trust and risk our national security by disclosing classified information.” 

The DIA hired Hansen, who speaks Mandarin and Russian, as a civilian intelligence case officer in 2006 after he retired as a warrant officer from the U.S. Army. Hansen had top security clearance for "many years," according to the release.

Hansen admitted earlier this year in his plea deal that a Chinese intelligence service contacted him in 2014 requesting him to relay information. The officer passed information to China between May 24, 2016 and June 2, 2018.

He admitted that he told a DIA case officer how to record and send undetectable documents, prompting the officer to report Hansen to the DIA and become a key source for the FBI. 

Hansen was arrested at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after meeting with the case officer and while in possession of intelligence he intended to send to China. 

The DIA declined to comment.

--This report was updated on Sept. 26 at 8:11 a.m.